St. Patrick's Day Recipe: Individual Guinness Braised Short Rib Shepherd's Pie with Irish Cheddar
I really can't tell you why I love St. Patrick's Day so much. I can't give you any particular reason why the festive green Irish holiday appeals to me so. Wait. Yes, I can. It's the booze. There, I said it. Shame on me. But seriously, what alcohol consuming adult can resist an Irish Car Bomb (that term is pretty offensive by the way...look it up) or a baby Guinness...or an Irish coffee...or heck, even a really delicious stout? I know I sure can't.
But...I'm also kinda a sucker for Irish/British fare. I know, I know...they're not our world's most interesting or most impressive cuisines. But damn are they comforting. Meat, potatoes, cheese, fried stuff galore...it's all pretty glorious to me.
Especially when it's a Dash of Les "cheat day" and I consume whatever on God's green earth I want. So you can bet your butt I honored one of my favorite holidays on a delightful cheat day this past weekend when I prepared a cheesy, meaty, mashed potato-y delight that never gets old. Shepherd's Pie. Comfort food at its best.
You probably already know this about me, but I'm not much of a red meat eater. So when I do eat the stuff, it better be knock your socks off, righteous. Ground beef just doesn't do the trick. In fact, ground meat of any kind rarely suits my fancy.
Braised short rib is possibly my favorite way to eat red meat. So fall-apart succulent and flavorful, it often triggers a prayer kinda moment with that first bite. But I didn't stop with Short rib. No, this savory pie needed a bit more Irish flair. So I braised that beautiful meat with some Guinness. I also portioned the pies into individual ramekins and topped with some delicious sharp Irish cheddar. And man, oh man, was this a dinner that I could eat for days.
Individual Guinness Braised Short Rib Shepherd's Pie with Irish Cheddar
3 pounds short ribs
1 yellow onion
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped carrot, divided
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can or bottle Guinness beer
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chives, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Dubliner Irish Cheddar
salt and pepper
1. Thoroughly pat dry the short ribs with a paper towel and then liberally salt and pepper on all sides.
2. In a large heavy pan, bring olive oil to medium-high heat. Then, add short ribs. Sear on all sides and then add to a slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with the beef broth and stir. Then, add the Guinness beer and bring to a light boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Then, pour the broth and beer mixture on top of the short ribs and turn the slow cooker on low.
3. To the slow cooker, also add the chopped onion and celery, sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, and 1 cup of the chopped carrots. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. When there's 1-2 hours left of cooking time, add the rest of the carrots. Stir and cover.
5. When meat is fall-apart tender (about 8 hours) make the mashed potatoes. Peel and chop russet potatoes and add to pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes break with the prick of a fork. Drain completely. Add the butter, cream, and a heavy pinch of salt and mash with hand-held mixer until smooth. Feel free to add some of the cheese to the potatoes themselves...
5. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and pull apart from the bone. Discard any extra fat/gristle. Then, spoon out about one cup of the drippings, making sure to get as many as the veggies as you can. Add the drippings and veggies to a sauté pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until sauce has reduced and thickened.
6. Add the meat, veggies, and reduced "sauce" to a bowl and mix. Then, spoon into individual ramekins (or all of it into a 13x9 casserole dish). Top with mashed potatoes. Spread cheese on top. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until meat and veggie mixture is barely bubbling. To get the cheese golden on top, turn on the broiler for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chives on top and serve.