Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cooking for Friends

I love cooking for friends, but I'm sure if you are anything like me more and more of your friends are on restrictive diets.  This week for small group we had the theme of "Pies" for dinner.  After naming the theme I immediately realized that many of our members are gluten free and most pies have gluten in them.  We also have several members that are dairy and egg free.  Here is my solution:

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie

To start I used Alton Brown's recipe and just applied some minor tweaks:

For the potatoes:
 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 -2 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (to taste)
1/2 tbl. The Melting Pot's garlic and wine seasoning (to taste)
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons tomato paste (I had some, but I didn't have the original container so I omitted this ingredient)
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1-2 cups frozen mixed vegetables 

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the chicken stock, olive oil, MP seasoning, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Make a slurry of the corn starch and 1/4 cup chicken stock.  Add slurry the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the frozen vegetables to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Cover with aluminum foil and place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until warm and bubbly.  Because these potatoes do not have milk or butter in them do not expect them to brown! Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. 
I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Like any other recipe be sure to check all of your ingredients before beginning for allergens!

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