Tuesday, January 1, 2013

RECIPE: DF was here

RECIPE: Irish Shepherd's Pie

The night before New Year's Eve and all is quiet. Except for the thing in the oven -- a dish containing all that you get after a long career of herding sheep. It's a pie of ground lamb with carrot and onion plus green beans with a good two inches of mashed potato cover and top of that plus a hoar frost of parm.  That last bit is most likely an embellishment because since when did Irish shepherd's have access to products from the Parma region of Italy?

The last supper of 2012 is DF's finest of year, vegetables sliced with precision and the layer of fluffy potatoes, not unlike the layer of fluffy snow outside on cars and trees. But his fluffy layer has the touch of man. The potato top has a graded surface, like the upper "T" at Mt. Tom doing nature one better.  "DF was here."

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie (with sources)
Serves Four


1 tablespoon olive oil (trader joe's)
1 teaspoon black pepper (cupboard)
1 lb ground lamb (Chestnut Farm)
1 large onions, finely diced (Brookfield Farm)
3 -4 large carrots, finely diced (Brookfield Farm)
1 cup beans (the store)
3 -4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (grown by yours truly in south hadley)
2 tablespoons flour (store)
1 tablespoon butter (store)
1 glass red wine (store)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (substituted with V8 juice)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (fridge)
1 cup stock (lamb stock saved six months ago from Chestnut Farm lamb)
1 large quantity mashed potatoes ( estimating 1L or 6 cups, fresh or leftover) (Brookfield Farm)
1 eggs, beaten (lady from Chicopee)
grated parmesan cheese (optional - the store)

Pre-heat oven to 200C/400°F.

Saute carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender.
Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat.
Season with black pepper and thyme.
Cook until browned then drain fat.
Add the butter and beans
Sprinkle with flour and stir through.
Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste.
Remove from heat. Grease an oven proof dish, big enough to feed 4 (see photo) with butter and add the sauce.
Spoon the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg, drag a fork across the potatoes with to create graded effect.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.
Serve to loved ones, one per customer.