This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Whilst in the U.K. I picked up a little of the lingo as you may have noticed, but I also had the opportunity to do a bit of cooking.

One evening I prepared a Puttanesca sauce and served it over pasta for the entire group of about 20 that had come to Wales. The group included us, Nick and Kate, Liz and Ray Abbott, Nick's folks, a number of Kate's Peace Corps friends, and a few of Nick's friends. After a strenous day of hiking along the Pembrookeshire coast, they had returned with quite an appetite. I'd made two large pots of sauce and it was nearly all eaten with only a few servings leftover.

On New Year's Eve, Nick and I had planned to make Shepherd's Pie, a classic English dish consisting of minced lamb (English for ground lamb)and mashed potatoes. We purchased the ingredients in Bristol before leaving for Wales.

That evening we chopped onions and garlic and browned them off along with the lamb. At the end I needed to add some Worchestershire, but we'd forgotten it. I suggested a sauce called Daddies sauce popular in England. It tastes a bit like HP sauce which is available in the States, but has a bit more BBQ flavor to it. It doesn't really matter as it turned out. Nick declared my idea brilliant and so a few squirts of Daddies went into the lamb mixture. As I stirred it in I also poured a cup of red wine in with it and stirred until it was reduced to a thick mixture.

In another pot we boiled peeled potatoes until ready for mashing. Adding butter we mashed the potatoes until smooth. We spread the potatoes over the lamb mixture as if frosting a cake. Into a very warm oven it went, the Shepherd's Pie is already cooked so it just needs to be kept warm until serving. However, I think it would have been helpful to broil the Pie a few minutes until the potatoes were golden brown.

Shepherd's Pie

2 lbs ground lamb
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic--minced
2 cups carrots - chopped Or add in some peas as well
2 lbs potatoes--peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
2 T Olive Oil
4 beef boullion cubes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper

1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
2. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender over medium heat (10 mins).
3. Add in lamb, crumble in boullion cubes and cook until browned off. Add carrots and or peas into mixture and cook until tender. Add worchestershire sauce and wine to mix and cook until reduced add mixture begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mash potatoes in bowl with butter, season to taste.
5. Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.
Serves four to six.

Shepherd's Pie, a big salad and 15 bottles of wine later, the group was ready to step out to the pub and an evening of New Years revelry. The pub was stuffed with revellers all with one thing on their minds--making their way to the bar to get a pint! At the stroke of midnight Auld Lang Syne was heard about the pub and a great deal of hugging and kissing with friends and strangers alike.
Happy New Year to one and all!