Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shepherd's Pie and Buttermilk Country Cake

For our Sunday dinners with Richard and John, I am mindful that John prefers food lightly seasoned with herbs, so I made this shepherd's pie recipe I found on and adapted. For the meat filling, I used ground turkey breast instead of ground beef and I added celery for flavor. For the topping, I added garlic to the potatoes. I do recommend sprinkling seasoning salt on top of the potatoes, both for flavor and for the color.

Shepherd's Pie
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, diced
1 pound lean ground turkey breast (or use lean ground beef or ground chicken)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs (I used dill)
1 cup frozen peas
2 ribs celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds  potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes
6 large cloves garlic (I love garlic! Use less if desired)
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Seasoning salt to taste (optional)

In a large pot, add the potatoes and garlic. Cover with water to 1 inch above the level of the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and mash potatoes with garlic, milk, and butter, if using. Set aside. I forgot to get a potato masher so I mashed the potatoes in the blender a large spoonful at a time. The potatoes had the consistency of vanilla icing!

Preheat oven to 400˚F. 

In a large pot, heat the oil then fry the onions and carrots until onions are transparent and carrots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add meat and fry until no longer pink. I used turkey for a low calorie option. Season with Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, herbs, and chicken broth. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes. Add peas and celery. Cook 5 minutes uncovered.

Pour the meat mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish. Top with potatoes. Smooth top and sprinkle with seasoning salt, if desired. Put the dish on a baking tray to catch the drips and put it in the oven for  20-25 minutes. I was afraid the seasoning salt might make it salty, but go ahead and sprinkle it! Use it if the meat filling is lightly seasoned.
Shepherd's  pie: Looks like a cake with vanilla icing!
I also made Chinese Style Barbecued Ribs (the recipe is elsewhere on this blog), steamed broccoli seasoned with a squeeze of lime juice, and a Mediterranean salad.

This Mediterranean salad consists of romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, and ripe black olives. I served the feta cheese on the side along with a choice of dressings: ranch style and balsamic vinaigrette.

The dessert

This cake is nominally buttermilk since I make it with sour milk. This dessert, Buttermilk Country Cake with crème fraîche topping and fresh peaches comes from a recipe I found in The Cake Bible. I've always wanted to make this exactly like the picture in the book! For a city the size of New York that's a cultural mecca, there is one thing that is next-to-impossible to find at the neighborhood supermarkets: cake flour. Hence the all purpose flour-cornstarch combination.  I love crème fraîche. And I love this cake. This cake can also be topped with berries in season instead of peaches.

Buttermilk Country Cake
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tablespoon vinegar in a cup topped with milk to the 1-cup level)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 4 tablespoons cornstarch (equals 2 cups cake flour)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9x2 inch round cake pan or a springform cake pan. Cut a round of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. Grease parchment and flour the pan and parchment.

Separate egg yolks. I find that separating them with my fingers works better than an egg separator. There's less chance of breaking the yolk. Pour off 1/3 cup of the sour milk and put it up in the refrigerator for another day, another recipe. In a small bowl, lightly combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the 2/3 cup sour milk, and the vanilla.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt. Aerate flour mixture on low speed for 30 seconds. Add butter and the remaining sour milk in the one cup measure. Blend on low speed until all the dry ingredients are just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg yolk mixture in three batches, beating until just blended. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Shift the pan gently back and forth on the counter to release air bubbles. Bake 30-40 minutes. As I'm still trying to figure out how fast this apartment oven is, unfortunately,  I over baked the cake by giving it the full 40 minutes.  I think 35 minutes would have been just fine. I should always add time in 5 minute increments anyway.
Have a slice?

No comments:

Post a Comment