Argentine Beef and Potato Pie

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons pimentón dulce (sweet Spanish smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large Idaho (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Combine the olive oil, onions, and carrots in a large cast-iron skillet and sauté over
medium-high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften and begin to
brown.

Crumble in the ground sirloin and cook for about 4 minutes, breaking up the
meat with a fork, until it loses its pink color.

Stir in the bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, cumin, pimentón, pepper flakes, and mustard.

Add the red wine and let it bubble gently for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Stir in the tomatoes and olives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced but not totally evaporated. (It is important that the finished dish be moist.)

Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a medium pot with cold water to cover, add salt to
taste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and boil for about 15
minutes, until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander, and pass through a food mill or a ricer back into the pot.

Bring the milk to a boil, and beat it into the potatoes with a wooden spoon.

One by one, beat in the egg yolks, and continue beating until well blended, fluffy, and yellow.

Heat an horno or home oven (with the rack positioned in the lower third of the
oven) to approximately 375°F.

Slice the hard-boiled eggs 1/3 inch thick and arrange them over the meat mixture.

Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and smooth the surface with a spatula. Use the tines
of a fork to press a pattern of fine decorative ridges over the entire surface of the
potatoes. Sprinkle with the sugar, if using.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned on top.

Potato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb—halved, cored and chopped
1 medium celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 thyme sprig
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt 8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the leek, onion, fennel, celery, shallot, thyme, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the stock, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the tarragon. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the cream to the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon each of parsley and tarragon and season the soup with salt and white pepper; discard the thyme sprig.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.