In the spirit of giving and in a desperate attempt to use leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving, Ben and I decided to catch up with our ex Writing And Looking-into-things-covertly R Us (WALRUS) colleague and only known frenemy with a stomach of steel, Phillip Sheppard.
Now Sheps (yes, we are that close) and Ben worked on some pretty significant WALRUS operations in their day but ultimately were brought together through a common commitment to ending up in the bed of the Great and Holy Probst. This led to Sheps’ successful inclusion in the cast of Survivor: Redemption Island (if you’re curious why we weren’t cast, read more here).
While Phillip won over the hearts and minds of many (?), sadly he failed to go where only one Survivor contestant has gone before (curse you Julie Berry)
Luckily for him, we were on hand to
soothe his heartbreak trample all over his broken heart while scrambling to Jeff’s side.
Regardless, Sheps was keen for a catch-up and we decided that, in the spirit of Christmas, it was time.
This pie is a revamped take on a classic, warming winter dish. Mashed pumpkin and sweet potato provide a sweet and light alternative to traditional white mash. Inside the pie awaits a rich, delicious beefy serenity full of tomatoey, peppery goodness sure to win over even the most steadfast of frenemies.
So in the spirit of Christmas AND Sheps – whip up a pie, bust out those faded red budgie smugglers/manties and have yourselves a cracking festive season in the land down under.
Phillip Sheppard’s Pie
1kg lean minced beef
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 red chillies, finely chopped (seeds out if you don’t want too much kick)
3 carrots, diced
1/2 bunch celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
500mL beef stock
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Handful fresh bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
Cracked pepper, to taste
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Mash
600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
600g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
In a large ovenproof pan, heat 1-2 tbs rice bran oil and cook the onion, celery and carrot until beginning to soften. Add minced beef and cook until browned. Mix through garlic, chilli and bay leaves.
Add red wine and cook until wine has reduced by approximately half. Stir in tomato paste, brown sugar and beef stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally on low heat until the liquid is reduced and thickened, approximately 1 hour. Add pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, place chopped pumpkin and sweet potato in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil until tender – approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and mash with butter and parmesan until smooth and creamy.
Assemble the pie by arranging the mash over the mince mixture and scallop the top lightly with the back of a spoon.
Bake in 180 degree oven for 30 minutes or until set and golden.