Monday, December 17, 2012

December 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge: Paté Chinois (Shepherd's Pie)

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 Hostess is Andy of Today’s the Day and Today’s the Day I Cook! Andy is sharing with us a traditional French Canadian classic the Paté Chinois, also known as Shepherd’s pie for many of us, and if one dish says comfort food.. this one is it!

I absolutely love Shepherd's Pie, so I was quite excited to discover my first Daring Cooks' Challenge would be Paté Chinois, a French Canadian version of this comfort food.  Usually, when I make Shepherd's Pie, I use leftover beef from a roast and make gravy from the broth.  Then, I mix in frozen vegetables, pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top it with mashed potatoes and toss it in the oven until it is warm and the potatoes are browned. 

For this challenge, I chose to follow Andy's recipe almost to the letter.  There were 3 changes in my version.  I doubled the garlic to 2 cloves, substituted almond milk for the milk, and sprinkled cheese over the mashed potatoes.

Paté Chinois
Serves 6-8 
Prep Time: Approx. 1 hour

  • 2 ½ lbs (1 kg) lean ground (minced) beef
  • 2 onions diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1¾ cups (115 gm) (4 oz) mushrooms diced
  • ½ teaspoon (2 gm) dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 gm) prepared horseradish
  • ½ cup (120 ml) red wine (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 19 oz (550 gm) can of cream corn
  • 2 ½ lbs (1 kg) potatoes
  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk
  • ¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) butter 
I doubled the garlic, and only needed one container of the mushrooms.  The butter is not pictured.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Wash potatoes and cut into quarters (I peeled the potatoes first.)

3. Boil potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain.

(While the potatoes were cooking, I began working on the beef.)
4. Mash potatoes with butter and milk.  Set aside.

5. In a frying pan, brown the beef with the onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Season with horseradish, mustard powder, and the optional red wine.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until well done and no pink remains   
 (Note: I cooked the beef, onions, garlic and mushrooms until no pink remained, drained the fat from the pan, and then added the horseradish, mustard powder, red wine, salt and pepper.  I cooked the mixture for another minute or two.)

6. Evenly spread ground beef over the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish.

7. Top with creamed corn.  (I used 19 ounces.  Next time, I will use both cans.)

8. Spread mashed potatoes on top.  Use a fork to make drag marks for decoration.  (I also added a bit of grated cheddar cheese.)

(At this point, I covered the dish and put it in the refrigerator.  All I had to do was bake it for quick meal the next night.)
9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

 10.  Put under broiler for 2-3 minutes, until the potatoes are browned.

11. Serve and enjoy! 
Even my pickiest eater ate his meal.  In the future, I plan to more garlic and fresh rosemary to the meat, add peas and carrots to the creamed corn layer, and add a parsnip or two to the potatoes before I boil and mash them.

I would love to thank Andy for hostessing this challenge and for sharing her family recipe.  My mind has opened to all kinds of variations to one of my favorite meals.  


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