Ah, shepherd’s pie — the ultimate peasant dish. This Argentinian version features a red wine reduction, fragrant oregano, woodsy rosemary and smoky paprika. And the sliced, hard-boiled eggs layered on top are a nice touch. Making it in one big skillet guarantees easy cleaning and reheating the next day.
- 2 onions, cut in medium dice
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs (900 g) ground beef
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp (10 ml) freshly chopped rosemary
- 2 tsp (10 ml) freshly chopped oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) sweet Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón dulce)
- 1 tsp (5 ml) red chili flakes
- 1 cup (250 ml) dry red wine, preferably Malbec
- 1 lb (450 g) ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (250 mL) kalamata olives, pitted
- 4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- In a large cast iron skillet, sauté the onions and carrots in the olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Crumble in the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a fork or wooden spoon, and cook until it loses its pink colour, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, cumin, paprika, and chili flakes.
- Add the red wine, and let it bubble gently for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Stir in the tomatoes and olives, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced but not totally evaporated. (The filling needs to be moist.) Remove the skillet from the heat.
- While the meat simmers, put the potatoes in a medium pot with cold water to cover, add a fair amount of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly, and let it vigorously simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes well in a colander, and do not wash the pot. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer back into the pot.
- Bring the milk to a boil, and beat it into the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, continuing to beat until the potatoes are well blended, fluffy, and yellow.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with the rack positioned in the lower third of the oven.
- Cut the hard-boiled eggs into 1/3-inch-thick (1 cm) slices, and arrange them over the meat mixture. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, and smooth the surface with a spatula. Use the tines of a fork to form fine decorative ridges over the entire surface of the potatoes.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned on top. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.