The traditional Shepherd's Pie is made with marinated lamb (or mutton), and potatoes. Just the kinds of foods a herder tending sheep on a remote hilltop and camping in a wagon would have at hand. A loyal Persephone customer took umbrage at the fact that I called my version Shepherd's Pie, as mine did no use either lamb or mutton. Hence the new name, Farmer's Pie. Whether or not I use meat (any kind works well), I always feature seasonal and/or storage vegetables as well. This recipe fills a 9" x 13" baking dish and makes enough for four farmer appetites. If you haven't got four farmers handy, you might have some leftovers, which also freeze well.
The protein: In this case I used 1/2 pound of flank steak.
1 Tablespoon each of tamari, balsamic vinegar, and red wine
I sliced the steak thinly and cut the slices into bite-sized pieces, then marinated the pieces in the liquids for a couple of hours. It takes only a short sautee on each side to brown these little pieces. Set aside.
The vegetable: 4 cups chopped shallots and/or onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cups coarsely chopped savoy cabbage
1 cup corn (I froze this last summer when corn was in season, so I can defrost some whenever I want to cook with it.)
salt and pepper to taste.
Fry the onion and/or shallot in sunflower oil in a heavy skillet until it is soft and lightly brown. Set aside. Sautee the carrots (separately from) the cabbage until they are soft and mostly-cooked but retain some firmness. Mix all cooked vegetables and meat. If you're not using meat, use more vegetables. The brilliant part of this dish is that you can use whatever you have around ... just keep the overall volume the same, feature your favorites, and everything will be fine.
The potato: 8 cups chopped potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons minced parsley
Boil potatoes until tender, drain and mash with a whole lotta' butter (or your favorite fat or oil for mashing). Mix with salt, pepper, and parsley.
Oil the 9 x 13 pan (pyrex or corningware works well). Fill the bottom half with the protein and vegetable mix. Fill the top half with mashed potatoes.
If you love cheese: Cover the potatoes with thinly-sliced cheddar. If you don't love cheese the contents of the pie are certainly flavorful enough to stand alone.
Bake the pie in a preheated 425 oven for 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the potato/cheese top is as toasty as you like it.