Shepherd's Pie. Seasonal Food For Un-Seasonable Weather
OK, so it's late February, and we're starting to look forward to spring, when all this terrible snow and freezing weather will finally leave us. When we'll be able to shed our heavy jackets, and consider, hopefully, whether or not it's time for shorts yet: only a few more weeks of this bleak, bitter cold . . .
OK. Wait. WTF? I'm doing all these "seasonally appropriate" recipes designed to "warm you from the inside," and "power you through the dark days of winter," and all that kinda stuff, and it was 82 degrees here yesterday. Record high. Our azaleas are about to start blooming, FFS!
Yeah, yeah. Anecdote, not Evidence, right?
I also too heard rumors that Soused Cackalakie isn't the only place experiencing unusually warm weather, either. And then, there's the drought- -- and damn near dam- -- busting rain in California. All of this while other areas have had record snowfall. It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, isn't it?
What the aich e double toothpicks could possibly explain such a wildly unusual weather pattern? We know it can't possibly be climate change, as both the House Science Committee and the White (again) House say it isn't.
Must be a coincidence.
Anyway.This was supposed to be about a recipe. I almost forgot! Today, to keep you warm in the nearly non-existent cold weather, to power you through the blizzards that either aren't happening at all, or are breaking records, we make:
Bowl of Warm
Drinkage: Irish Coffee, to go with an Irish recipe.
Difficulty: 4/10. Lots of chopping and dicing, but the rest is pretty straightforward.
Time: 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes baking: 1 hour total.
Serves: 4 - 6.
WHAT YOU NEED!
- 2 Tbls Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt, to taste
- 1 lb ground lamb (or beef)*
- 1 large Onion, finely diced
- 3-4 Carrots, grated or finely diced
- 4 Garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 Tbls flour
- 2 Tbls Worcestershire
- 2 Tbls Tomato Paste
- 3/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 Tsp Rosemary
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- 2, 15 oz cans Peas.
- Mashed potatoes, 4 - 6 cups
WHAT TO DO WITH WHAT YOU NEED!
Just like Photoshop: it's all about the layers.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Saute carrots in olive oil until slightly softened, about 5 - 10 minutes
- Add onion, saute another minute or two.
- Add ground
lambbeef. Season with Salt, Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary
- Cook until well browned but not dry.
- Remove meat to a plate or cookie sheet covered with a thick layer of paper towels. Pour out remaining fat.
- Add butter to pan, return meat to pan.
- Sprinkle with flour, stir in until it absorbs the butter/fat in pan.
- Add Tomato paste, garlic and wine. Reduce until very thick.
- Add Chicken stock. Reduce by approx 1/2 - you should have a thick, rich gravy. Taste, add seasonings to taste. Remove from heat.
- Lightly grease your baking dish[es]: One, 9X13 Pyrex dish; or individual bowls.
- Ladle meat mixture into dish[es]*.
- Add a layer of drained peas.
- Spoon or pipe mashed potatoes over top.
- If desired, brush with eggwash and/or sprinkle with Parmesan or similar cheese.
- Bake 20 - 30 minutes, until liquid is bubbling hot and potatoes are nicely browned.
Take time to appreciate what each of the layers brings, and how they complement each other. It's a surprising synergy of simple ingredients, combining to create a complex blending of tastes and textures. That wonderfully crusty layer on top of silky smooth potatoes; sweet, succulent peas; rich, savory, thick gravy; tender, full bodied, juicy meat.
Perfect for a cold winters day. Assuming you have anymore of those. Then again, lambing season is springtime, right?
*It's "Shepherd's Pie" if using lamb, "Cottage Pie" if using beef.
**These bowls are 1 3/4 cup capacity. I used 3/4 c meat, 1/2 c each peas and potatoes.