This is the French equivalent of Shepherd’s Pie with a delicious, spicy filling. An amazing recipe from Jody Williams’ Buvette cookbook. Serve with a simple green salad.
10 allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons of whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lb of ground beef
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of white wine
2 cups of water
2 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup of milk (Recipe calls for heavy cream but I prefer milk)
4 tablespoons of butter
Preheat oven to 400F.
Combine the spices in coffee grinder and process to a fine powder. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook meat, crumbling it in small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat has rendered all its fat. Add the reserved spice mixture and the carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables are softened and the mixture is fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add a teaspoon of salt to the mixture along with the white wine. Increase the heat to high and the let the mixture boil until the wine as nearly evaporated. Add the water to the pan and let mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to allow mixture to simmer, skimming off any fat that rises to the top. Cook until the mixture becomes concentrated and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 30 minutes. Season meat with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, prepare the potato puree. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the potatoes until they are completely soft. Once done, drain and peal potatoes. Process potatoes using a ricer. Warm up the milk in microwave a couple seconds and incorporate to the potatoes along with the butter. Vigorously mix until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Distribute the meat mixture in one layer at bottom of a baking dish. Spread the potatoes on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.