I wish I could give away a dutch oven to each and every one of you. Seriously, I do. I love these things. To me, dutch ovens absolutely symbolize cold weather cooking. Though they are very heavy pieces of artillery, my two LeCrueset's have become an incredibly vital part of my kitchen. As soon as the weather turns brisk, my mind starts scheming to come up with new things to make in Big Red (that's what I call my 13-quart red Dutch oven, and yes I realize I am a huge nerd).
Alas, I cannot give you a dutch oven, but I can do something to help those of you who are in need of one (or anything else in your kitchen artillery that you find you are missing). I am giving away a $45.00 gift card for CSN stores online! They have a huge selection of cookware and kitchen gadgets, and you can use this gift towards any of it.
All you have to do is:
Leave me a comment on this post, telling me what your favorite thing to make in your dutch oven is? Or, if you don't have a dutch oven, what would be the first thing you would make if you did?
You have until next Friday, November 12th at midnight to enter. I will pick a winner at random, and you will be contacted by CSN stores to redeem your gift!
Now, lets get on to the goodies. This may not be the most beautiful or photogenic dish, and it may not be the most fancy dish, but it is so so delicious. Tender eggplant and big chunks of beef, tons of oregano and a pecorino-garlic spiked mashed potato topping...I can barely handle it. I spied this on the cover of bon appetit about two years ago, and finally got around to making it this week, I can't believe I waited this long. It is chocked full of vegetables, tender cubes of braised beef, and topped with a creamy, starchy topping, it has all the things you want out of a traditional shepard's pie, with a few twists.
I found my favorite way to eat this particular dish is in a mug. Preferably with a snuggie on. (I almost tried to smuggle home the snuggie I got my parents as a gag-gift for Christmas) Yes, I am ashamed. You can curl up on the couch and let this pie warm your hands and your belly.
Greek - Style Shepard's Pie
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
1 1/2 - 2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6-7 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 pounds beef, cubed into 1 inch pieces (I usually just buy the 'stew beef', pre-cut into small square pieces)
5-6 carrots, diced
3 cups chopped onions (I used about 2 1/2 large vidalia onions)
1 cup dry white wine
1 - 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (if you can find the Greek Kasseri cheese, use that, I couldn't find any)
Spread the eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a small handful of coarse salt. Let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour, to pull the excess moisture out of the eggplant. Rinse eggplant with water to remove salt, and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add eggplant, and saute until tender and browned, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and set aside.
Season beef with salt and pepper, then toss with enough flour to lightly coat all the pieces. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in the same large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, brown meat on all sides, about 8-10 minutes for each batch. Transfer beef to a bowl, and set aside.
If pot is dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil then add the onions. Saute the onions until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the wine to the pot and scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until most of wine has evaporated. Add tomatoes with juice, beef broth, garlic, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Add beef with any accumulated juice and carrots to pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer over low heat for another 45 minutes.
While the filling is simmering, place your potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, heat the two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute just a minute, until fragrant. Add milk and bring to a simmer and turn off heat.
When the potatoes are cooked through, drain and return to pot, cooking over medium heat for a few minutes until excess water has evaporated. Crush potatoes with a potato masher, and add the milk, mashing until smooth. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and keep covered until filling is done.
You can either bake the pie in the dutch oven the you prepared the filling in if it is oven proof, or you can transfer the filling into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top the filling with spoonfuls of the mashed potatoes, and spread gently into a even layer to seal in the edges.
Bake until filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes.