Classic with a Greek twist

A simple twist on a classic, this shepherd’s pie combines the delicate flavour of lamb with savoury kalamata olives and dense, crumbly polenta and Parmesan cheese.

Mediterranean shepherd's pie.

Mediterranean shepherd's pie.

A simple twist on a classic, this shepherd’s pie combines the delicate flavour of lamb with savoury kalamata olives and dense, crumbly polenta and Parmesan cheese.

Mediterranean Shepherd’s Pie

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1.5 kg (3 lb) ground lamb

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) cracked black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste

125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine

125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken broth

1 can (796 ml/28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 sprig fresh rosemary

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped kalamata olives

50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh parsley

Polenta

750 ml (3 cups) water

500 ml (2 cups) ground polenta

750 ml (3 cups) cold milk

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) fresh grated Parmesan cheese

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).

In a large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add lamb and cook, breaking up pieces with the back of a spoon, until browned and no pink remains, about 10 minutes. Drain any fat; season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until it is reduced by half. Add broth, tomatoes and rosemary. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and coats meat, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in olives and parsley.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Stir in polenta, milk and salt, stirring constantly, until smooth and polenta begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until polenta begins to bubble and pop, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in Parmesan and butter, continuing to stir until polenta pulls away from sides of the pan, about 10 minutes.

To assemble: Spread lamb filling into a 3-l (9-by-13-inch) baking dish. Drop large spoonfuls of polenta evenly over surface of lamb and gently spread to get an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until polenta is golden and filling is bubbling around edges. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Homegrown Ontario.

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