Our evening temperatures have been dancing around the freezing mark as of late. Today was cloudy, rainy and a bit dreary as I pulled out the leather coat for the first time. There’s no escaping. We must be venturing awfully close to that “less-than-loved” season. (I’m afraid I have a hard time even uttering the word yet.) I certainly don’t want to jump ahead, but I know w_ _ _ _ _ isn’t far away when I begin searching for recipes like the one I pulled out today. Looking for consolation, I busied myself in the kitchen with all the makings of Shepherd’s Pie.
It’s not the quickest meal to prepare, but it’s worth it. There’s something about pouring myself into the creativity of cooking a tasty meal that can be relaxing and peaceful, at least when I have a rare, lazy afternoon like I fell into today.
It’s baking even as I type. The lovely scents of nutmeg, rosemary and sage are wafting through the house, making the chill outside somehow less daunting. I’m not ready for what’s ahead, but I’m content.
Which comfort foods help you get through the season I’m not quite ready to mention?
Lisa’s Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 1 Hour
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 pound potatoes, peeled/chopped
3 T butter
¼ C milk
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 T oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, finely chopped
1 T paprika
1 (20 oz.) pkg. of mixed frozen vegetables (or chopped fresh)
3 cubes chicken bouillon in a cup of boiling water (I use 2 “Not Beef” boullion cubes by Edward & Sons: No MSG and less salt.)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
12 oz. tomato sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: less salt.)
4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 pinch dried sage
1 pinch salt (optional)
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 T tomato paste
1. Boil potatoes until tender. Whip with milk and butter until smooth and creamy. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Cook meat until it is browned. Drain if needed. Set aside.
3. In a dutch oven, sauté the onions with the paprika in the oil. Add the garlic and green pepper. Set aside.
4. Combine the cooked meat, onion mixture and sauce mixture.
5. Blanch frozen vegetables for five minutes in boiling water. Drain. Add to meat mixture.
7. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture into large casserole dish. Top with thin layer of mashed potatoes. Repeat until a thin layer of potatoes is on the top.
8. Dot with flakes of butter, nutmeg, paprika, salt and pepper.
9. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Uncover for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (You may wish to place it under the broiler for the last 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
Hint: Make a double portion of everything but the potatoes. It freezes well. I’ll be glad I did the next time I have a busy evening and not much time to cook!