As you know I’m trying to keep my diet largely local, and in the deep dark months of winter its a little hard to do. But I figured out a new food rule to help: if a meal originated at the fire of an ancient gardian of domestic ovine, well he probably didn’t have access to a lot of exotic imported food stuffs, and you are probably going to find it easy to cook with local ingredients. (This rule is featured in honor of Michael Pollan’s latest book where he offers rules like “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t have recognized as food”. I hope the shepherd rule makes it into the next volume of ‘Food Rules’)
So, that said, this week’s recipe is for Shepherd’s pie. This ‘pie’ basically consists of two layers, and there is a quite a lot of leeway in terms of how you prepare each:
- olive oil (or animal fat if you real want to play shepherd)
- 1 large onion
- 1 v. small bunch carrots
- 1lb of ground lamb (or beef or some combination of these — I used some of the delicious grass fed beef I stocked up on, it was great!)
- herbs & spices (I used salt and pepper and basil)
- 1-2 cups broth (chicken or beef)
- tomato paste (did you can your own? throw in a whole half pint)
- frozen peas (preferably some you froze yourself in the spring)
- About 6 medium potatoes (or you can use other root vegetables, sweet potato, parsnip, etc)
- Lashings of butter (I put in about 1 1/2 sticks)
- Cream (I threw in about half a cup)
Chop the onions and carrots and fry in about 2T of olive oil till they start to soften, add the meat and cook until browned. Add the rest of the ingredients except the peas, and simmer until the liquids cook in and the mixture is thickened, add the peas. Remove from heat. In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut into large pieces, boil in salted water until soft, drain. Add the butter and cream and salt to taste and mash until whipped. I use a lot of butter and cream so this is a really yummy treat!
Layer the meat and then the potato mix into a oven proof dish (about 8″ x 12 “)
Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 45 minutes — the potato will start getting golden and a little crispy in some places.