I’m always on the hunt for easy recipes to feed the fam, so when I searched #risotto on Instagram, a stylin’ pic from @chefsouschef popped up. Talk about inspirational: The light, the flat lay, the colours, the art direction!… The creative-type in me was hooked. But would it fit my cooking requirements: 1) easy 2) kid-friendly 3) adult-friendly (translation: No pizza, chicken nuggets or hot dogs involved)?
A visit to chefsouschef.com reveals the following: the Canadian husband-and-wife team, Mystique and Philip, are just as attractive as their food photos, and they’ve mastered the art of the flat-lay food photography (their signature style) and even explain how they do it here.
Both Mystique and Philip have food allergies and sensitivities so recipes are reworked around this. Although nobody in my family has a food allergy, this is definitely a feel-good motto I can get behind. Of course after I announce that risotto is on tomorrow’s menu (‘it’s just rice!’, both my daughters voice their displeasure.
So instead I decide to save the risotto recipe for date-night and try for something more familiar, their Not So Traditional Shepard’s Pie. Meat. Check. Carbs. Check. Veggies. Check. Even better was that the ingredients were items I already had stocked in my cupboards and fridge. I only needed a quick shop for mushrooms, and I was ready to begin.
INGREDIENTS | 6-8 Servings
- 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1 lb of ground meat
- 2 shallots peeled and diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- 1 small package of mushrooms roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and finely diced
- 1 cup of bone broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels
- ½ cup of fresh or frozen peas
- 2 lbs of russet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 tbsp of melted butter
- ½ cup of bone broth
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
Get the full recipe and cooking instructions here.
- I forgot to buy shallots, so I swapped in one onion
- Subbed chicken stock for bone broth (they’re similar — I Googled it)
- I started out awesome: the ground beef was caramelized, potatoes were boiling and the veggies frying in the pan. Then I noticed my toddler squatting in the middle of the kitchen (she’s two and in the process of being potty trained). I grabbed her and raced to the bathroom, then spent five minutes cleaning up a number two. By this time, the carrots and onions had surpassed the suggested 2-3 minute sautéing time. (NOTE: You should never leave your stove unattended. I should’ve turned it off before running off for mommy duty).
- While cooking my toddler wanted me to read her a book. I convinced her to wait until after I mashed the potatoes, allowing them time to cool before I threw in the egg.
- I admit that I wasn’t sure about the egg in the mash, but after mixing it in my potatoes were ridiculously fluffy. (PS: I emailed Mystique and Philip and they confirmed that the egg allows the potatoes to form a crust, making the potatoes more substantial and hearty).
MY RECIPE NOTES
- Degree of difficulty: Medium. My skill level in the kitchen is pretty low so I’m a fan of one-pot meals. Having to deal with two pots (mashed potatoes AND the beef/vegetable/stock on the stove) at the same time, stressed me out.
- Dishes/pots/plates used: 1 pot, 1 pan, 1 large bowl, 2 small bowls for corn and peas.
- Clean up time: Medium.
KID REVIEW: After being quizzed on exactly what was in it, they finally tucked in but ate in a deconstructed manner: mash, meat, veggies—and in that order. Full disclosure: they left behind the carrots. I don’t know what it is but I can’t get either of them to eat cooked carrots, no matter how good they are. Any tips or recipe suggestions are appreciated…
ADULT REVIEW: Both the husband and I loved it—and went back for seconds! He even commented on how fluffy the potatoes were. And although the recipe said to leave the pie in the oven for 50 minutes, since mine gets pretty hot, 40 minutes would have been perfect (less browning on top).
More about Chefsouschef (my new go-to blog for recipes):
Their favourite cookbook: Mastering The Art of French Cooking. “This is an essential cookbook for us, and acts like a second sous chef in our kitchen.”
Favourite TV Show: Top Chef
Always in their pantry: Almond pulp, rice flour. “Phil was diagnosed with celiac disease as a child so we have a lot of wheat substitutions always on hand. He’ll make something using almond pulp as the main ingredient and try different things until he has a good recipe.”
Ingredients they’re obsessed with now: “Fennel, coconut milk, avocados topped with walnut pesto on top of toast.”
New favourite dish to make: “Creme Brûlee! Mystique is lactose intolerant but vividly remembers that tap tap sound of cracking open a creme brûlee. This past year, we played around with coconut and were able to recreate the classic dessert with this Coconut Creme Brûlée.”