There’s a terrible rumour going around. One of those rumours that you’re scared to believe, incase it might not be true.
The rumour in question is this: It’s summer.
I can’t comment on the truthfulness of it, since I have yet to see it with my own eyes. However, there does seem to be a hell of a lot of clues to back up this lurid accusation. Everywhere I look, there are advertisements for BBQ kits and recipe’s for “light summer dining”.
Maybe I just love my comfort food a bit too much, but when it’s pouring down outside and the wind is blowing a gale, “summer dining” is the last thing I want.
Each to their own on this one, but I can’t comprehend the logic when people say things like “you can’t have soup, it’s summer” or “It’s the middle of July, have a salad”. My grumbling tummy can’t differentiate between the seasons; it knows what it wants and will stubbornly whine until it gets it. Stodgy, comforting, tasty food.
Like this luscious Italian Shepherd’s Pie, crafted by the ever flamboyant Gino D’Acampo.
I adapted mines slightly to accommodate what I had available, but I am sure the taste wasn’t compromised as a result. Bellissimo (as Gino would say, I assume)!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
500g x lean beef mince
1 x onion, finely chopped
2 x courgettes, peeled and diced
250g x button mushrooms, chopped
1 x red bell pepper, diced
1 x yellow bell pepper, diced
1 x glass red wine
500g x tin chopped tomatoes
2 x tbsp dried basil
700g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
30g x salted butter
50ml x milk (I used whole)
150g grated parmesan cheese
My mum made the sweet potato mash beforehand for me, by boiling them for 30 mins until soft, then mashing (combining the milk and 100g parmesan). I find it easier to spread the mash over the mince mixture if it’s cooled.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
First, I fried my onions, mushrooms and courgettes, for 10 mins until soft.
I added my red and yellow peppers, and fried for a further 5 mins.
Then I added the minced beef, separating the clumps of meat with my spoon. I seasoned with salt & pepper and fried for 5 mins.
I added my glass of wine and stirred until the alcohol evaporated. I then popped in the tin of tomatoes, basil and oregano, then cooked uncovered for 30 mins (over a medium heat), stirring occasionally.
Spread the mixture evenly into an ovenproof dish (and try not to eat it all, it is smelling divine by this point!)
Top with the mashed sweet potato, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 mins (or until the top looks crisp and golden).
Serve and enjoy!
Next time I do this, I’m going to throw in a couple of normal potatoes with the mash, as I think that would provide a more pliable consistency for spreading etc (it felt a wee bit thin on the top).
I opened a bottle of red wine for this recipe, and I don’t drink red wine (rose and white are a different matter altogether, however!). So I put the rest of the wine into little tubs and have frozen them for the next time a recipe calls for it!
Are there any other Gino D’Acampo recipe’s you have tried? Please share!