I work at a Williams Sonoma. Its great. I own every major cooking appliance, utensil, pot, pan, you name it - I've got it. It also gives me a great opportunity to work with trained chefs and to try some great foods without having to risk it myself first. One of the girls I work with made this and I was hooked. You'll never have regular Shepherds Pie again.
First you're going to want to cook your brisket. I say first because in a dutch oven or slow cooker this is going to take 3 - 6 hours. You need the jar of Brisket starter from Williams Sonoma. It makes it. But I'm sure you can do this with your own sauce just the same. I always do the oven version.
(Adapted from Braised Beef Brisket)
1 flat-end beef brisket, 3 to 3½ lb. or large flank steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 jar brisket starter*
12 oz. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the bias
Season the brisket or flank steak (I used the steak) on both sides with salt and pepper.
Slow-cooker method: In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Sear the brisket until well browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the brisket starter and carrots. Cover and cook on high according to the manufacturer’s instructions until tender, about 5 hours.
Oven method: Preheat an oven to 300°F. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Sear the brisket until well browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium, add the brisket starter, carrots and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil, place the lid on top and transfer to the oven. Bake until the brisket is tender, about 4 hours.
Once your Brisket is done, follow the Shepherds Pie recipe below. You won't regret it.
Brisket Shepherd's Pie
(Adapted slightly from Shepherd's Pie)
2 lb. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
3 cups shredded braised brisket (see above)
2 cups sauce from brisket or 1 cup beef broth
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the potatoes, water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well.
Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a bowl, or mash in the bowl with a potato masher. Add the milk and 1 Tbs. of the butter, and beat with a wooden spoon or with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, brisket, sauce and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 7 to 10 minutes.
Preheat a broiler.
Spoon the hot filling into a shallow baking dish, I used the same braiser I cooked in originally. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the filling. Place under the broiler and broil until the potatoes are tinged with brown, about 1 minute. Serve directly from the baking dish. Serves 6-8.