“You will always find someone here cooking or eating. We grew up with different culinary traditions: Chen’s mother, Grandma Etty, grew up in a Persian household but she learned to cook Kneidlach soup and Rakott krumpli from her mother-in-law, Grandma Elka. My mother, Grandma Shuli, began to cook relatively late in life, after we left the kibbutz, and she got her recipes from our neighbors who came from Morocco and Bukhara. Even today, our kitchen home is an ‘Israeli mix’ of sushi, hummus, pizza and of course – schnitzel.”
Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie
For the meat mixture:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/2 heads of garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1.1 lb (500 grams) ground beef
- 8.8 oz (250 grams) champignon mushrooms
- 3.7 oz (105 grams) chestnuts peeled and roasted (can purchase vacuum packed)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
For the mashed potatoes:
- 6 potatoes peeled
- 2 sweet potatoes large, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pinch ground nutmeg
Prepare the meat mixture:
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide and deep (11-inch/28 cm) cast iron skillet suitable for the oven, over medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.
3. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, only until lightly golden.
4. Add the ground meat and fry until browned.
5. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil followed by the mushrooms, chestnuts and pine nuts, season with salt and black pepper to taste and mix well. Fry for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until golden brown. Remove from the heat.
Prepare the mashed potatoes:
6. Place the peeled potato and sweet potato in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until soft.
7. Drain the potatoes, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash well. Add the cooking water, olive oil and a pinch of nutmeg and mix to a smooth puree.
Assemble and Bake:
8. Preheat oven to 170C degrees.
9. Using a wooden spoon, smooth the meat mixture to an even layer in the iron skillet. Place the mashed potatoes on top, flatten and lightly press.
10. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.