This dish I have been working on is something of an east-west fusion in that it incorporates a traditional Indian dish known as ‘Keema Saag’ in the basic form of the more well-known Shepherd’s Pie. Basically, ‘Keema’ is minced (ground) meat, while ‘Saag’ refers to a whole range of greens, with spinach often being used in many western renditions of Indian dishes. Here I have used both Kale and Swiss Chard with the result that you get a Shepherd’s Pie with the added spiciness of a curry, combined with a good way of getting some greens into your diet…
- 1 1/2lbs. ground Beef;
- 1 bunch each of Swiss Chard and Kale;
- ½ cup chopped Onion;
- 4 – 6 cups mashed Potato;
- 1/3 cup Flour;
- 2 tbsp. Coriander Seed;
- 1 tbsp. Cumin Seed;
- 1 tsp. Salt;
- 1 tsp. ground Fenugreek;
- 1 tsp. ground Black Pepper;
- ½ tsp. ground Cardamom;
- 1 tbsp. Mustard Seed;
- 1 tsp. Celery Seed;
- 2 Tbsp. dried Fenugreek Leaf (Kasoori Methi);
- 2 tbsp. Garlic Paste;
- 1 tbsp. Sambal Oelek;
- ¼ cup Applesauce;
First, grind together the coriander and cumin seeds and mix with the salt, pepper, ground fenugreek and cardamom. Keep the mustard seed, and celery seed whole along with the dried fenugreek leaf.
Remove the tough stems and ribs from the chard and kale. After you have done this, you will need to blanch the greens in boiling salted water for a minute or so, plunge into cold water to cool, and then squeeze dry really well.
Next, chop the greens very finely. In this instance, I also gave the result a final squeezing but you may wish to read the end-notes before doing this yourself.
I meant to take a picture here, but the next step is to brown the meat and pour off all but a tablespoon or so of fat, then add the dried, whole and paste spices and cook for a moment longer. Afterwards (as pictured above), let the meat cool slightly then add it to a bowl with the onions. Stir in the flour to mix well, and then incorporate the greens and the applesauce.
Put the mix in a suitable baking dish or dishes, spread with the mashed potatoes, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. If you like, you can turn up the heat for a last couple of minutes in order to brown the topping slightly.
Here you can see the pie with one small serving removed. The result was very tasty but a little milder in terms of spiciness than I had expected. The only criticism I had was that it was just a little dry… In the first place, I was a little overly cautious in making sure the result would not be too watery and I squeezed the greens more than needed. During the squeezing process after chopping, the expelled liquid was quite green, meaning I was likely expelling nutrients as well. I won’t do that again.
Also, I included applesauce because I usually do in Shepherd’s Pie but I could have used more here. Apple can add a nice sweet background taste but it was not noticeable here and I think a full cup would have improved the flavor and added some needed moistness. Other than that, I enjoyed the pie very much…