This recipe calls for ground meat; it can also be made with cooked lentils. See note at the end of the recipe for the method. You can change the herb used depending on the choice of meat: beef and thyme, lamb and dill, turkey and sage, for example.
6 medium (Russet) potatoes, (peeled) and quartered
water or broth
2 T butter
1/3 c milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 T minced fresh parsley, or other fresh herb
salt and pepper, to taste
2 lbs ground meat
1 T butter
1 c chopped onion or leek
1 bay leaf
1 T chopped fresh herb
salt and pepper, to taste
1 T flour
1 c water or broth
2 bunches greens, washed, stemmed if necessary, coarsely chopped
1. Put potatoes in a pot and add enough water or broth to cover by an inch. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and begin to mash. As you do so, gradually add butter, cooking liquid and milk, then the egg. Don’t put the egg in right away as it may cook from the heat of the potatoes. You don’t want runny potatoes so use only enough cooking liquid to create a soft mash. Finally add the herb, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, or following this, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Brown the meat in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat, until no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes. If necessary, melt a tablespoon of butter in skillet, then add chopped onion or leek, bay leaf, chopped herb, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until onion has softened. Move mixture to sides of pan and add flour. Stir flour constantly for a minute or so until it is not longer raw and has colored a bit. Combine with pan contents. Slowly add broth or water, stirring, to make a sauce. Once all the liquid has been incorporated, add the greens, in bunches, and cook until tender. This will depend on the type of greens–spinach cooking in little time while collards taking 10 minutes or so. You can also cook the greens separately, and then combine with the pan contents. Remove the bay leaf.
3. If you haven’t been using an oven-proof skillet, transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Spoon the potatoes evenly over the filling either in the skillet or the baking dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned and the stew is bubbling.
Note: To use cooked lentils in place of meat, saute onions until soft, then add lentils, bay leaf, herb, salt, and pepper. Combine, then add flour, stirring, for a minute or so. Proceed with recipe.