Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay who every week tries to diagnose and treat an ailing restaurant. The restaurant featured serves Irish food and is owned and operated by a father, his 2 sons, and a daughter-in-law. The chef is the younger son with a sous chef from hell. He picked up a chicken wing that fell on the floor and promptly put it in the fryer right in front of Ramsay and the camera saying all the germs it picked up from the floor will die from deep frying anyway, eww. The dishes they serve are less than below average. The clients complained of cold, dry, and simply tasteless dishes most specially the Shepherd's Pie, a very typical British dish. During the make-over period, Ramsay prepared a pie that he says is his own mother's recipe and after tasting his pie the restaurant owners and crew oohed and aahed. He then made them taste the son's pie and they all made faces indicating it is yucky. That hurt the chef, you could see it from his face and he did not show up in the restaurant for 5 days.
The reject pie brought me back to the day my son came home from school with a plate of shepherd's pie he made in school as a project when he was a student in a British School in Hong Kong. He proudly presented us the pie saying he made it all by himself, of course with the teacher's recipe and guidance. One bite of the pie and we nearly gagged, it was the most horrible food I have ever tasted in my life. The onions were raw and crunchy, the meat was dry and under seasoned with just salt, pepper, and nothing else. And the mashed potatoes was equally forgettable. But we couldn't tell him because we didn't want to hurt his feelings. We took a few more bites of the dreadful pie and I threw the rest while he was at school the next day. I can't remember if we ever told him that the pie was awful.
Well, anyway, back to the reality show. Ramsay was able to "save" the restaurant and the Shepherd's pie became its signature dish that everybody seems to love. I looked for his recipe online and prepared it today using beef in place of lamb. I don't know if this is the same recipe he gave to the restaurant but I don't really care because this pie is very very good.
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Shepherd's Pie
2 pounds lamb or very lean ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, grated
1 large carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese for mashed potato
- Prepare the mashed potato, recipe here. Add 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Cover, set aside, keep warm while preparing beef.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil, stir fry beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add wooster sauce, tomato paste, thyme and rosemary, cook for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until wine has almost evaporated. Add the broth and simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Transfer beef to a deep dish. Spoon mashed potato on top of beef. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese. Fluff with a fork to create peaks. Bake in a 400° F oven for 20 minutes or broil until top is golden brown.