Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest Post Spotlight: Beef and Veal Shepherd's Pie

Today I turn over the LC floor to a member of our 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, the creative Angela from Spinach Tiger.  She's an artist who always has something interesting share, she cooks with heart and joy.

Her blog is well-written and photographed flawlessly.  Give Spinach Tiger a visit you will come away impressed and also make a new friend.

Here she shares with us one of my favorite dishes Shepherd's Pie.  I would have loved sharing this meal.


It's quite an honor to be asked to guest blog on Lazaro Cooks. I have admired the dishes he puts out for some time. I came to know Laz as one of the co-hosts of the Five Star  Foodie Makeover, a monthly event featuring food bloggers who give a gourmet twist to an assigned theme, that I have participated in every month but one. My blog was under construction the month the theme was cooking with wine, and I was so sorry to miss that challenge, because I had a recipe I was salivating over that I found in a  magazine. The picture was ripped out and sitting in my kitchen for months. I don't often cook from cookbooks because I love the creative process, but sometimes a photo grabs me and a dish is so inviting, I can't get it out of my mind. During the hot summer, I kept looking at the photo and waiting for a cold snap. When Laz asked me to guest blog for November, I knew I would make this dish because I think it deserves attention. And, the funny thing is that I didn't find it in a cooking magazine.

As a former faux artist, I have an incredible passion for design, decorating, and ambiance, and have subscribed to nearly every decorating magazine over the years. The one that stands out for me is Elle Decor for its classic yet contemporary viewpoint. The magazine captures the richness of solid design with a nod to the past, highlighting rooms that are modern while remaining classic and warm. And, it was in Elle Decor that I found a recipe that could be easily served in one of those beautiful rooms. It was the best take on comfort food I had ever seen. Chef Daniel Boulard transformed a country dish of shepherd's pie using beef bourguignon. It's dramatic, rustic, elegant, soulful, and non-stop delicious. 

As one who rearranges everybody's furniture, I changed the recipe a tad and made homemade veal stock instead of beef stock,  and used some veal roast in addition to the rib eye. I moved the cheese around, edited the parsnips and flour, but stayed true to the original intention.

This is fantasy worthy food. And, because the aroma will push comfort from room to room for several hours, it's  maddeningly good for the senses and the soul.

This stew takes all day to make, but that is the kind of thing that turns a house into a home. Please don't let the long recipe deter you. The flavors are complex, but it is not difficult. It still gives you plenty of time in between steps, to nestle with some books in between, or sit by a fire with a favorite movie. But, do set a splendid table and invite friends to share this because it's just too good to eat alone. If Laz lived in my neighborhood, we would have invited him over. 

Recipe for Beef and Veal Shepherd's Pie
(adapted from Daniel Boulard, Elle Decor Magazine)
  • 1 lb. boneless rib eye, cut into 1" cube
  • 1 pound veal cubes (optional, if you don't use veal, use 2 pounds of rib eye steak)
  • 2½ cups Burgundy red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 medium onions, ½" dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, ½" dice
  • 3 stalks celery, ½" dice
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups veal stock (see recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mashed potatoes (see recipe below)
  • 1/2  cup grated manchego cheese (original recipe uses gruyere)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 3 stems parsley
• 1 bay leaf
• 6 peppercorns, crushed
  1. Cut the veal off the bone and make the veal stock below. Cut the rib eye into small cubes, discarding the fat.
  2. Cover the cubed veal pieces and rib eye with the wine and marinate for 3 hours.
  3. Put sachet ingredients into a piece of cheesecloth. Prepare vegetables.
  4.  After three hours, remove meat from wine. Reserve wine and reduce in sauce pan with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Add olive oil to large pot or dutch oven. Sear meat on both sides. Remove and set aside, reserving enough fat in pot to saute the vegetables.
  6. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute for four minutes. Add in tomato paste. Cook for two minutes and add meat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook until four is dissolved. Add wine, veal stock and sachet.
  7. Cover and simmer very low for two hours. Season to taste.Put stew into baking pan.
  8. Top with mashed potatoes and manchego cheese.
  9.  Bake at 400 degrees, on top rack for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.
Recipe for Veal Stock
  • veal bones
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut in large pieces
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • salt, pepper
  • six cups cold water
  1. Cut away the bone from a veal shoulder. Reserve meat for recipe above.  Place bones, carrots, onion and thyme on shallow roasting sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables are caramelized.
  3. Place in large pot with 6 cups of  cold water. Add bay leaf, fresh sprig of thyme. Simmer for 2-4 hours or until reduced to 2 cups of broth. You might need to add in some cold water if broth is reducing too fast. Taste along the way. 
 Recipe for Mashed Potatoes
  • 2 pounds white potatoes, peeled (some love yukon golds for a creamier texture.
  • 2 teaspoons salt (for water)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons whole milk
  • splash of cream (optional)
  • salt, white pepper to season
  • dash nutmeg (about three gratings)
  1. Peel potatoes, and cut into quarters and cut again. Rinse in cold water. Put just enough cold water in pan to cover potatoes by two inches.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to boil and then simmer until fork tender. Drain and put back into pot and add butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Scald milk. Smash potatoes with fork or old fashioned masher tool and add a few tablespoons of hot milk and three tablespoons of the butter. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  4. Take through the ricer and return to the pan. Turn the heat on low and add the rest of the milk a little at a time and use wooden spoon to stir.
  5. Add nutmeg. Stir again. Add in last tablespoons of butter. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if necessary.


  1. I'm a huge fan of Shepherd's pie and this is an excellent recipe, love the use of Burgundy here! Thanks, Angela!

  2. Great idea to make it differently.I mostlu use mince but worthwile trying thsi as well;)

  3. Laz you picked a winner with Ms Spinach Tiger. I follow her religiously. She is so talented and I know for a fact she makes a mean pie.

  4. This is so mouth watering...I love this with veal!

  5. Looks like the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night. Great idea to use to veal ~


  6. Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post here. When anyone refers to me as an artist, I know they are paying some true attention and it warms my heart. I hope you have the best most delicious Thanksgiving ever, and I hope you get around to trying this recipe with some grass fed beef and organic veggies. You will love it!

  7. Mmmm I have long wanted to make something like this! Is there anything better on a cold winter evening than this Shepherd's Pie? Perfect!

  8. I normally use mince in mine for a quick weeknight meal but slow cooking the meat to pull apart goodness is a fab way to do it! Such a warming dish :)

  9. Interesting recipe! You have a nice blog! I will follow u!

  10. This is so comforting, Angela! I agree that sometimes the photo from a magazine just grabs your attention and that makes you really wanna make that dish!

  11. Angela, this looks amazing and as I suspected you were being FAR too modest when you commented on my pie. A seriously great version of this dish. LOVE

  12. Hey Angela, this is a great take on the classic and some how you managed to make it look beautiful as well :)
    Another great quest post Laz...
    Hugs to you both

  13. You've made me very hungry! Can't wait to try these!

  14. You are so right, it is a glorious recipe. Funny how inspiration can come from unlikely sources. Didn't know you were a former faux artist.... I have such great respect for people who do it... you must visit my post on Lyndehurst in NY State... the whole place was sublimely fauxed in the the 1860s.... it knocks your socks off! Have a great holiday!

  15. This is another great recipe I've seen this morning. I also love how it's served in individual gratins. Quite a rich looking shepherds pie! It's nice to meet a fellow artist who loves to cook! Thank you Lazaro for introducing me to Angela.


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