I just bought this incredibly beautiful cookbook called What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces. While she is Irish, she has lived in Australia for some time and her recipes show it.
Every page is beautifully shot, every recipe has a photo. To call it food porn is a huge understatement. I bounced a few first recipe try out dinner ideas off of Dave, and he wanted me to go with her recipe for shepherd’s pie which is something he typically doesn’t like; however, this one, like many of her recipes, is distinctly Aussie (Aussies are serious about very few things, but among them: beer, cricket, Aussie rules footie, and meat pies/shepherd’s pie). No ridiculous mix of vegetables here – this is not to be confused with a sort-of pot pie with mashed potatoes on top as you find more often in the US . My parents came over for dinner, and we all agreed this was the real deal. Warm, richly flavored but not overpowering, and comforting, you would often see this served with hot mushy peas with gravy back Down Under.
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 1/4 lbs lean ground free-range beef
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 c worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp steak sauce
3 tbsp barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 springs thyme, leaves picked, plus extra to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted garlic and cheesy mash topping
3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled (I used 5-6)
Sea salt and ground white pepper
5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/3 c milk
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
1/2 c finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the three (or more) unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove and allow to cool, then squeeze out the soft flesh and discard skin.
While garlic is roasting, boil your potatoes in salted water. When cooked through, rice with a potato ricer. Add milk, yogurt, parmesan, roasted garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside (or fill an icing bag if you prefer to pipe your potatoes on top).
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and fry for 5 minutes, add garlic and cook an additional 5-7 minutes. Add ground beef and stir well, breaking up any lumps. Cook until beef is nicely browned, then add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, nutmeg, and thyme and stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Spoon mixture into a 6 cup capacity baking dish.
Pipe or spoon your mashed potatoes over the filling and sprinkle with extra sprigs of thyme, parmesan cheese, and pepper. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.
As mentioned, I increased the roasted garlic in the potatoes because roasted garlic is awesome. I also added more thyme because thyme is delicious 😀 Other than that, I tried to keep true to the recipe, as it was the first recipe I was trying out of a new book. I shortened the directions considerably because it was a bit wordy.
A special note – I always, always, cry when I chop onions. Even leeks or the whites of scallions. I do everything I’ve ever read: I breathe through my mouth, I try not to cut into the bulb at the base, etc. There is a very useful “Tips and Tricks” section in the beginning of the book that reads:
About to peel and dice an onion? Don’t do what my mother-in-law hilariously does and don a pair of thick, perspex welder’s glasses to stop her eyes watering (LOL – true!). Instead, hold your wrists under running water for a second or two before you start, keeping them wet as you chop the onion. Alternatively, chew a piece of gum – it really does work!”
I didn’t have any gum, but I thought “oh what the hell” and tried keeping my hands and wrists wet as I finely diced that whole onion for the pie. Guess what? It FUCKING WORKED. Holy shit. I think the book was worth it for that one bit of advice alone. The more you know…
And now, roasted, caramelized, bubbling garlic porn: