Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Comforting Shepherd's Pie Means "I Love You"

It has been a long hiatus for me and I thank you for your patience.... lots of traveling so the good news is I have lots to blog about coming up this spring!  Adventures everywhere from Paris to London to Dublin to Vegas to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the northeast and even a glamping adventure on a dude ranch!!  Think of all the yumminess and great places I have to share!

During my time traveling away from my blog, I have shared quite a few tips and fellow bloggers great recipes and ideas on my face book page over the last few months and I hope you will check them out at

In the meantime, I have a special treat in honor of the heartfelt love that is shared during this month of February and chilly days and lots of savory spoonfuls of deliciousness!

This week I made the most amazing Shepherd's Pie for my husband (if I do say so myself) and a few extra for the freezer. Wow -you have truly got to make this ASAP -it really can be simplified or as complex as you would like!

You can use ground turkey and lamb like I did or any variation of meats- the key is in the farmer's market rainbow carrots and a great stout beer!  In the recipe I provide to you below I tweaked a little from the original and also added two splashes of  worcestershire sauce and halved the original suggested full bouillon cube and a couple splashes of a good red wine to further deepen the flavor.

The original called for instant mashed potatoes but why not take the extra few minutes and slowly boil your own.  I was a bit surprised to see that the mashed potato mixture called for an egg yolk but boy did that make a nice difference in richness of these beauties!  I went with some chives and maybe a tad or two more cheddar handfuls than in the original recipe.

You can use one long casserole dish or baking pan but I opted to split it up for several meals easily frozen and easily broken down for just one person if needed.

Of course it is all about the layers of meaty juicy saucy veggie filled goodness, followed by those potatoes but nothing in the world beats a whopping layer of cheddar falling off the ramekins and overflowing from your pan with a splash of paprika.

The layers are a thing of beauty - this can go right into your freezer since it is completely cooked through or right into your oven and in 30 minutes you will have your family devouring it!

I think I may have to save one of these for my dad with heating instructions- I have a hunch he will adore it!

I may even have a few friends and neighbors knocking on my door -if you could just smell the incredible aroma in my home.

So, in this month of sharing love to your significant other and friends- consider sharing a love pie right from the heart!

Recipe (ingredient list is below):
Start with bowl of mashed Yukon potatoes. Add sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chives, egg yolk, teaspoon of salt, and teaspoon of black pepper and stir until smooth. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.

Add lamb and/or ground turkey and cook until browned. Pour off any excess grease, and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes with liquid and any preferred vegetable medley (it can even be frozen) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

While that is cooking, in a small saucepan heat beer and add beef bouillon (consider using only half- the salt just isn't worth that flavor). Bring up to a simmer and add cornstarch mixture. Then add that to lamb mixture and simmer until thickened.

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour in lamb mixture. Spoon mashed potatoes over and make sure the potatoes cover all meat mixture. Top with 1 cup cheese and sprinkle paprika over the casserole. Pre-heat oven to 350'F.

Cook covered with foil until hot. If the the ingredients are still hot when it goes in the oven, bake 25-30 minutes. If the casserole ingredients are cold, bake for about 45 minutes.

Uncover and place under broiler until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 2 minutes, optional chive or parsley garnish.

-My recipe was adapted from Al Roker at

    • 5 cups mashed, boiled Yukon potatoes (shortcut: You could use instant potatoes)
    • ½ cup sour cream
    • 3 ounces cream cheese
    • 1 egg yolk
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 1 1/2 pound ground lamb
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice (16-ounce can)
    • 1 small bag of frozen vegetable medley (carrot, peas, onion, corn) or cut up fresh carrots, celery, etc.
    • 1 bottle of good stout beer
    • 1 cube beef bouillon (try using only a half)
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with a enough cold water to make a paste
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons chives

Enjoy and let me know what your secret is to a great valentine's homemade comfort food!
xoxo, Cathy