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Gumbolaya
California Cole Slaw
Shepherd's Pie
Chicken/Bean/Barley Stew
Chili Mac
Sopa Seca
California Chili
Spaghetti Meatballs
Aunt Annie's PepperRelish
Letona's Chess Pie
Kentucky Bourbon Cake
 

Shepherd's Pie

(Serves 6)

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 TBS flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp summer savory
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
  • 4 TBS butter
  • ½ cup milk or half-&-half
  • Added salt & pepper to taste

Directions

BOTTOM LAYER:

  1. Cook ground beef with onion and carrots until beef is lightly browned and vegetables are limp.
  2. Slowly mix in flour, salt, pepper, rosemary, summer savory, and garlic.

TOP LAYER:

  1. Boil potatoes until tender.
  2. Drain, then mash with butter, milk or half-&-half, salt, and pepper.

TO COMBINE:

  1. Pack meat mixture (drained of liquid) in bottom of oven-proof casserole dish.
  2. Spread mashed potatoes on top, to edge of dish. Make crisscross pattern in potatoes with fork.
  3. Bake in 350° oven for 40 minutes.

I first ate shepherd's pie in Ireland--probably as cooked by our long-time friend Gráinne Wilson in Bray, County Wicklow, where we lived for the larger part of a damp and chilly year. Gráinne has continued to cook the dish over the years while babysitting my daughters or just dropping by the house during one of her many Davis visits. Bewley's Oriental Café in Dublin cooks a very nice shepherd's pie, as does most any medium- or low-cost Irish restaurant. The traditional recipe calls for ground or minced lamb (which makes sense if a shepherd is making it), but I've found some resistance to eating lamb from people who are quite comfortable with ground cow. The recipe works fine either way. What really makes the dish a very comforting comfort food is that combination of mashed potatoes and tender ground meat.

Alan Elms


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