unconventional SHEPHERD's PIE mediterranean style

'PATE CHINOIS' (aka Sheppard's Pie) morphed into a 'Mediterranean style' dish.
A medley of vegetables and an Italian meat mix serve a solid base to a smooth mash. 

Before I begin describing the wonderful flavours from this delicious meal...
I thought of sharing a little history behind the classic Sheppard's Pie.

My curiosity about the origins behind the dish's name 'Pate Chinois' sprouted early.  
    As a child, I had asked my Italian-French Canadian Mom about the...
odd name that was attached to the Chinese part of the name.  
Familiar with what Chinese food tasted like, I didn't think those flavours fit in.  
Mom didn't know either.
Not too insistent at that point, I let it go.  
Now that I'm older...my developed inquiry mind was on the hunt.

Here's is what I discovered:
This dish is originally a French Canadian dish and definitely not a Chinese dish.  

A dish simply composed of 3 very basic ingredients:
    ground beef ... corn kernels ... potatoes.
Often, it's served with a generous dollop of Ketchup sauce.

One possible explanation of the Chinese reference in the meal's title is:
 The French Canadian railway workers building the North American Railway...
worked alongside several talented Chinese cooks.
    They used cheap available ingredients and turned it into one excellent flavoured dish.
In addition, this same recipe somehow found its way to the U.S. through the many...
French Canadians which emigrated in the Eastern U.S. to work at the Mills.
The Chinese would call this dish China Pie.

The word 'Paté' in French is certainly not the straight translation of 'Pie'.
It is, however a very loose translation to define food combined in layers to look condensed.

Here's my Sheppard's Pie re-created into a whole new dish with a Mediterranean twist:
Please keep in mind that not every ingredient is a must.
Most are inter-changeable to please your taste buds. Be creative.
However, if it is done precisely...you will be pretty pleased with the final results.

Alright, fellow chefs...let's begin.

'Mediterranean style' SHEPHERD's PIE
serving: 8 persons

Click HERE for the PRINTER version of this RECIPE

(American /Metric measures)

... Meat and Vegetable mix:
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) e.v.Olive oil
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) Grape seed oil
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) unsalted Butter
. 1 large, sweet Onion, diced
. 3 mild, Italian style Sausages, cased, broken-up
. 1 lb. (450g) medium-lean meat of choice, minced
. 2 stalks of Celery, thinly sliced
. 2 large Carrots, halved, thinly sliced
. 1 large red Bell Pepper, diced
. 1 small can of Italian crushed Tomato
. 1/4 cup (60ml) fortified Port or Sherry
. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea Salt,
. 1 tsp. (5ml) granulated Garlic powder
. 1 tsp. (5ml) each dried Herbs: 
Oregano, Basil, Mint, Marjoram, Sage, Rosemary, Tarragon
. 1 tsp.(5ml) ground Cinnamon

Mid Layer:
. 1 small can sweet Corn, rinsed, drained
. 1 small can red Kidney Beans, rinsed, drained
Potato Mix:
. 6 whole, medium sized Yukon Potatoes, peeled
. 2 whole, medium, sweet Potatoes, peeled
. 2 tsps. (5ml) sea Salt
. 2 Tbsps. (30 ml) e.v.Olive oil
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) unsalted Butter
. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea Salt 

Pre-heat the oven at 350F/180C/Gas 4
Position the rack in the center of the oven.
. Use a medium to large oven-proof dish.

...Meat and Vegetable Mix:
1. In a large deep pan, heat the oils and butter on MEDIUM-HIGH heat.  Add the onions and cook them for about 10 minutes. 
2. Add the sausage and other minced meat.  Cook until almost done.  LOWER the heat to MEDIUM.  At this point, remove this mix and set it aside and cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, in the same pan, add the remaining vegetables.  Cook about 15 minutes.  Add the crushed tomato and cook a few more minutes.
4. Pour in the Port and cook for about 5 minutes before adding in the seasoning.
5. Then, add back in the meat mix.  Combine and close the heat.  Cover the pan and set aside while preparing the mashed potato mix.
...POTATO mix:
1. In a very large pot, place the potatoes, salt and enough cold water to surpass them.  Initially bring the water to a boil to then turn down the heat to MEDIUM-LOW.  Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes or until tender enough to mash.
2. When the dish will be ready to assemble, hand strain the potatoes with a ladle.  Do not throw away the water.  Mash the potatoes and add just enough of the reserved water to give the mix a good consistency.   Then, with a spatula, add the olive oil, butter, and salt.
1. In the oven-proof dish, proceed to layer the bottom with the meat-vegetable mix.  To that, add the corn and beans.  Finish with the mashed potato.  Decorate the top by poking and dragging a fork to create dimples.
2. BAKE for 30 minutes.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.  When ready to plate, remember to cut and slowly pull away pieces in order for servings to be in tact.
Note: This wonderful meal can be prepared ahead, cooled, refrigerated and cooked on another day too.  Just make sure to take it out 30 minutes before you cook it in the oven.

This may be a long recipe for some.   
However, when the murmurs of the oohs and ahhhs are gracing lips...
 you'll definitely want to add it to your recipe 'repertoire'.  
After all, a 'Signature' recipe deserves your passionate attention in order to achieve fabulous results.

Enjoy and buon appetito,

Comments ...???...or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

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