Sunday, March 18, 2007

Marc's Pâté Chinois (Shepherd's Pie)

Pâté chinois ("Chinese pie") is French Canadian comfort food at it's best! It is quite similiar to Shepherd's Pie. There are many variations on the recipe but it is usually made with layers of seasoned ground beef, creamed corn, and mashed potatoes. There are a few theories as to where this dish got it's name. Some would say it was when Quebecers went to work in the mills in China, Maine. Others say the recipe got it's name when Quebecer railway workers were fed by Chinese cooks while the North American railways were being built in the early 1900's. We'll never know for sure but that's okay with me. However it got it's name, it's delicious just the same!

Marc gets full credit for this recipe! I had no input whatsoever! He's been perfecting this recipe for over a year now and this is the final version. He didn't have his recipe written down but after picking his brain while we were having dinner tonight, we came up with the approximate measures. It's really hard to screw up this recipe anyways and the amounts are only suggestions.

Marc's Pâté Chinois (Shepherd's Pie)

Mashed Potatoes:
8-10 medium potatoes
1/4 cup dehydrated chicken broth powder (optional) *See Note
2 tbsp butter
1/4-1/3 cup milk
1/3 large white onion, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Mushrooms:
1 (8 ounce) package of sliced white mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced

Ground Beef:
1 1/2 - 2 lb. lean ground beef (or any combination of veal, beef, and lamb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp concentrated beef bouillon (like Bovril) (Optional) **See Note

2 cans creamed corn
paprika

1. To make the mashed potatoes; boil the potatoes with the bouillon powder until tender (about 20 minutes). In a medium bowl, mash potatoes with butter, milk, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. To make the mushrooms; Sauté garlic over medium heat for one minute. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid. Drain and set aside.

3. To make the ground beef; Sauté ground beef and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned. While sautéing, sprinkle the meat with garlic powder and concentrated beef bouillon.

4. To assemble; Spread creamed corn on the bottom of 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Top with meat mixture. Top with mushrooms. Top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Broil on low for 5 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.

Serve with ketchup or tomato chow-chow.

*Note: For the bouillon powder use Loney's brand or Knorr cubes
**Note: If you can't find Bovril you can use the liquid Beef OXO or worst case, Worcestershire

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