Shepherd’s Pie is a staple at our house. It turns up at the dinner table at least once a month. It’s one of the first dishes that I learnt to make from my mum, although I do it in a slightly different way today.
So here’s how making a shepherd’s pie happens at my house one Sunday morning:
First, put the baby down for his morning nap, cross the fingers that he takes a nice long nap.
Next, ensure that Wee Reader has some water nearby, and lay out some jigsaw puzzles at the kitchen table to keep him occupied. Naturally these puzzles are of vehicles, one is an airplane, another a train, and the third a dump truck. He is happy to do them over and over.
Finally, get out all the things one needs for Shepherd’s pie.
– Sweet potato (because I had one leftover)
– shallot (or an onion if you have one – I only had shallots)
– several cloves of garlic
– one sad carrot
– the very limp last few stalks of celery languishing in the bottom drawer of the fridge
– four cremini mushrooms
– frozen peas
– frozen corn (because when pulling out the frozen peas I realized that there’s just a little bit of frozen corn left, and figure, eh, the more colours the merrier)
So to start with, wash the potatoes, chop them in half and pop them in a pot of water, boil until soft.
Meanwhile, finely chop the shallot, garlic, dice the carrot, celery and mushrooms.
In between, check on Wee Reader who has been saying, “Mummy, Mummy, I did it!” and remind him to drink some water.
When the potatoes are soft, peel the skins off and mash with some butter and milk, add some salt (I used garlic salt) and a bit of pepper and I added a bit of all-spice.
Conveniently, the baby has woken up, and it’s time to change and head out for lunch.
What’s for lunch? A drive down to the Mitsuwa supermarket in San Jose for ramen at Santouka.
Unfortunately, everyone else had that same idea (it was only 1110 and there were at least 25 people in the queue). Probably cos it was the first proper rainy day that we’ve had in a long time, at least on Feb 2, (we are, in case you didn’t know, in a drought State of Emergency), and there’s nothing better than something hot and soupy on a chilly day. With a hungry toddler though, we decided to just order from the other stall at the food court, which sells bentos and items like Japanese curry. Wee Reader enjoyed his stir fried beef, edamame, potato croquette and rice.
We pick up some supplies from the supermarket, like miso and panko, as well as some sashimi for dinner. Then pop into Clover Bakery for some delightful red bean buns (Wee Reader is a big fan), a chocolate chip melon pan and an apple tart.
Then we head home, luckily the rain has stopped.
The kids have some playtime and then it’s off for nap time.
Which means, part two of the Shepherd’s Pie project begins.
Heat up the pot, pour in some olive oil, add the shallot and cook for a couple of minutes, add in the garlic, carrots and celery. Throw in the minced beef (I used a pound’s worth). Then the mushrooms. Then a lump of tomato paste that I just remembered to take out of the freezer (so it’s a lump and not really paste-like). Season with salt and pepper, a little bit of L&P sauce, some Italian seasoning, and what Trader Joe calls ‘Everyday Seasoning’.
Then pour the mixture into a greased pyrex dish.
Layer the mashed potatoes on top.
Run a fork through so that it will get some bits that will crisp in the oven.
Cover with foil.
Put it in the fridge to bake the next day (or bake it in a 400F (about 200C) oven for about half an hour. Broil for the last few minutes if it’s not brown enough.)
Go play with the kids.
Dinner the next day.
And the next.
And the next.
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