Shepherd’s Pie

By Sarah

There are two Irish pubs a block away from my apartment and tonight they are filled — no, overflowing — with people in green shirts. And shiny green beads. And the occasional Leprechaun hat.

But I’m boycotting these pubs and it has nothing to do with the color green. You see these places are just that: neighborhood pubs. The food is okay and the beer menu is lengthy, and it’s so close by that I’ve found myself sitting at one of their back tables on a number of occasions because we want a simple meal without cooking. Or just have to see a particular sports game. Or it’s late and nothing else is open. Last time I went to my favorite of the two, I didn’t even look on the menu before ordering my standard Shepherd’s Pie.

But they didn’t have any. Not just that night. They had taken the Shepherd’s Pie off the menu!! What’s an Irish pub without Shepherd’s Pie?

Well, by the looks of it when I walked by this evening, the pub is doing just fine.

But I’m not. Although I can go quite long periods of time without eating any meat, sometimes I need my fix and a hearty meat stew just has to be found. Or made.

Since Shepherd’s Pie is really peasant food, I thought it was appropriate to use whatever I had on hand instead of making a trip to the grocery store. So that means my mashed potatoes were half turnips and I used cider instead of the dark beer (which isn’t actually in the original recipe, but I’m sure that was an oversight), but the recipe below is the original (exception: beer) so that you can make your own modifications.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Victoria Granof in Cookie

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 lb ground lamb (I used beef)
1 dark beer + chicken bouillon to make one cup broth (or just 1 cup chicken broth)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I used tomato sauce/canned tomatoes to make 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (I used 1/2 tsp dry rosemary)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 cup frozen potatoes
2 lbs potatoes
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
salt to taste

In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain the fat and add the beer, bouillon, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, then add the peas. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, and salt.

Spread the potatoes over the meat mixture. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

*I actually liked this dish best after I had it sit in the fridge for a day or two and then reheated it.


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