French Canadian Pâté Chinois
This is the French Canadian version of Shepherd's pie that my mother used to make. I've since adapted it slightly to make it vegetarian. There are no specific amounts listed below as it varies depending how many people you are feeding. I use one package of veggie ground round for 4 people, or 2 very hungry people!
- flank steak, or other inexpensive cut of beef (or some veggie ground round, if you want this to be vegetarian)
- onion (1 medium onion per 2 people)
- oregano, to taste
- potatoes (1 large or 2 small potatoes per person)
- butter (or vegetable oil and / or vegetable stock)
- salt and pepper to taste
- cream (optional, for creamier mashed potatoes)
- 1 can of cream corn (more if you prefer)
- ketchup and / or applesauce (to taste, as an accompaniment)
- Peel, cut into smaller sections if necessary, and set the potatoes to boil (alternatively, you can boil them in their jackets and peel them afterward, your choice).
- Chop the onions to taste (I like them coarsely chopped).
- Cut the flank steak into small pieces or grind it (if using veggie ground round, no other prep is necessary)
- Heat up some butter (or vegetable oil, if you prefer) and begin frying the onions.
- Once the onions start to sweat, add the meat (or meat substitute) and keep frying until it is nearly cooked through.
- Season the mixture with oregano, salt and pepper to taste and finishing cooking the meat mixture.
- Mash the potatoes with some butter and a bit of cream (the cream is optional, but I never skip it. You could also use vegetable stock instead of both the butter and cream if you want to make this vegan).
- Season the mashed potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the cooked meat in the bottom of a casserole dish making an even layer.
- Top this with a layer of cream corn.
- Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
- Sprinkle with paprika (mainly to make it pretty).
- Bake at about 350°F for about 20 minutes (or until bubbling at the bottom — I use a pyrex dish, but the cream corn tends to bubble through to the top around the edges as well. The potatoes also get a few golden crispy edges).
- Serve with ketchup and / or applesauce (Traditionally, we always used ketchup)