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Shepherd's Pie with Rutabaga Topping


  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for rutabagas and potatoes
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck or leg of lamb for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium canned beef stock
  • 4 carrots, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 rutabagas (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 4 russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup of hot milk, or more if needed


  • Tie celery, rosemary sprig, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic in a small piece of cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni; set aside.
  • Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until hot.
  • Melt butter, and brown meat in two batches, taking care not to crowd the pieces or they will steam and not brown; transfer meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add onions; cook until slightly softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Return meat to pan and sprinkle flour over the meat and onions, cook about 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Add wine, and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits.
  • Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid after 1 hour; add carrots, and cook, uncovered, for the last 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place rutabagas and potatoes in separate saucepans; cover with cold, salted water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, 30 to 40 minutes for the rutabagas and 25 minutes for the potatoes.
  • Drain; return to the saucepans to dry out any moisture from the vegetables for a few minutes.
  • Put the rutabagas and potatoes through a food mill fitted with a fine disk, or ricer, or mash by hand.
  • Add butter, as desired, and enough hot milk to make a creamy puree. Season with salt and pepper; stir in chopped rosemary.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove bouquet garni; transfer stew into a deep 2-quart baking dish.
  • Top with puree; dot lightly with butter.
  • Bake 1 hour, or until top is brown and crusty. Serve hot.