Life’s kinda crazy right now. In the next two-ish months I’m going to be typing/formatting/editing/defending a thesis, I’ve got a few trips to conferences planned (no big deal…they’re just on the other side of the country), I have graduation (yay!), and then I get to move to a specific location that is yet to be determined. In addition to my life being crazy, the weather’s nuts too. In a two week period, my university cancelled a grand total of five days of classes due to snow and ice (which is really saying something); in that same two week period there were at least two days of 70*F weather. So…yeah. At least we’re keeping it interesting, right?
As weather-wise alone I have no clue what to expect day-to-day, I’m not limiting myself to “cold weather foods” or “spring foods” or anything like that; I’m cooking whatever the hell I want. I’m also trying to celebrate life whenever I can, because…well, why not? So last night I had a “l’chaim” party with some friends. In asking earlier in the week for suggestions, one friend said I should consider making a chicken pot pie. Wasn’t totally behind that, but I liked the casserole/one-pot idea. So, I made a shepherd’s pie instead. It was my first time making it. I read a few recipes beforehand (many of which seemed to think a classic UK dish should include kernel corn…), and they all seem to have the same ingredients. But this was fantastic if I do say so myself. And not too hard. I’d tell you how it reheats, except I had no leftovers…oops. =)
- Potatoes (2-3 pounds)
- Half and half
- One egg yolk
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh garlic, minced
- Fresh thyme, chopped
- Fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1.5-2lbs ground lamb
- Worchestershire sauce
- Carrots, finely diced
- Peas (ok to buy frozen, but thaw before cooking)
- Sweet onion, diced
- Tomato paste
- Beef stock (or chicken stock)
- Make mashed potatoes. To do that…
- (Option A) Peel the potatoes, and chop them into one-inch or so equal sized pieces. (Option B) Wash the potatoes, and chop them into one-inch or so equal sized pieces.
- Place the potatoes in a pot with salted water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Strain the potatoes and immediately return them to the pot. Add butter, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Whip/mash until they are as chunky/smooth as you like.
- At the very end, mix in one egg yolk.
- If your meat is naturally greasy (which mine was), season it with salt and pepper, and cook it for a few minutes in a skillet to get rid of some of the fat. You don’t have to cook it all the way through–you’re just trying to save your arteries. Place on a paper towel to sop off additional fat (like you would when cooking bacon).
- In a large sauce pan, start sauteing the carrots and onions.
- When the carrots and onions are soft, add the lamb, garlic, Worchestershire and herbs. Season again.
- Add the beef stock and some tomato paste. If you want more liquid, add water or more stock. If you want less liquid, add flour.
- When everything’s almost done cooking, add the peas.
- Preheat the oven to 400*F. In a baking-dish layer as follows: non-potato mixture. Mashed potatoes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown and the liquid underneath starts to bubble.