It was nice to wake up this morning at nine-thirty, and not to hear the obnoxious beeping of an alarm clock. I’m not sure how I am going to like having to readjust to that on Tuesday when school starts again. In a way I am done with summer, but in a way I am also wishing I could enjoy the beginning of fall and all the nice weather it brings. Maybe we should set up vacation in sections? May and half of June could be vacation and August and half of September could be as well. Outdoor classes could be held in between vacations…
This would also help by giving me time off during harvest time, so that I can reap the benefits of having all of this food. But today, though there was no school, I didn’t do anything with the plum tomatoes and squash we got from my grandparents. That will be tomorrow, but today I made Shepherd’s Pie, which even the boys like. Squash soup with pistou, my parents were afraid, would not go over as well.
Anyways, this is not just any Shepherd’s Pie, just as the Chicken Pot Pie was not any pot pie. This is because, of course, the recipe is from the magazine, Cook’s Country, which is a sister to Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe makes use of ingredients like beer, soy sauce, and tomato paste, many of which are in common with the chicken recipe too. When I make the recipe though, I use gluten-free beer, ground turkey instead of beef, and gluten-free flour (this time tapioca starch) in replacement for the gluten flour. The recipe is below:
Cook’s Country, February/ March 2006
Serves 6 to 8
Although just about any mild beer will work in this recipe, we particularly enjoyed the sweet flavor of O’Doul’s nonalchoholic amber.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup beer(see note above)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
1 large egg, beaten (I don’t use)
1. For the filling: Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Add onion and carrots and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add meat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up meat into small peices with wooden spoon, until browned, about 12 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute.
2. Add cream and cook until it spatters, about 1 minute. Add broth, beer, soy sauce, and thyme anad simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick but still saucy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in peas, adjust seasonings, and transfer to broiler-safe 2-quart casserole dish.
3. For the topping: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, return to saucepan, and mash potatoes with butter and cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
4.. Spread potatoes over filling, using spatula to smooth top. Brush with egg and drag fork accross top to make ridges. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and cook until top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool ten minutes. Serve.