"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Shepherdess Pie

 A Shepherd's pie dates back to the 1800's by name at least (although a similar dish, the Cottage Pie, dates back to the 1700's).  It seems the two terms are somewhat interchangeable, though as far as I can tell a Shepherd's Pie usually indicates the use of minced lamb rather than beef.
The dish is humble and while filling it is not necessarily attractive.  There are traditionally layers of minced lamb or beef, and onions, all cooked in a gravy and sometimes layered with other vegetables, but always topped by mashed potatoes.  Occasionally it seems this pie would have a bottom crust of mashed potatoes as well.
I am not inventing the term Shepherdess Pie, even though I love it: it indicates a vegetarian version of this dish!
This is a great meal for putting together a few hours before dinner, and that's just what I did.  I had various vegetables suitable for this rather hodgepodge dish: mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, carrots and some green lentils I'd cooked previously.
 I peeled my potatoes and got them on to boil, then began the chop and saute.  It felt like a tarragon kind of day, I wanted a subtle herb to complement the leeks.
 The food processor makes quick work of finely chopping cabbage and carrots.

I simply sautéed all of the vegetables in the dutch oven I was planning to cook the whole lot in, so it couldn't have been easier.  When a dish like this is going into the oven for a final baking I don't like to overcook the vegetables on the stovetop, I like to leave them a little crisp.
 I whip my potatoes in the KitchenAid mixer with the big whisk attachment, adding some of their own cooking water and a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cashew cream is a nice addition if you have it lying around.
Top the vegetables with the mashed potatoes and smooth them over fetchingly.  Sprinkle a little olive oil on top and then bake in a 325 oven for about 25 minutes or so.  Perfect comfort food, the Shepherdess Pie!

I have various chores and admin tasks to get through today and I'm hoping it won't be too icy for my walk with Scout.  I went out last evening with the fur pony for a walk around the neighbourhood and it was so icy, it was like a balance workout!
Tonight it's my Serious Book Club, and we're discussing a book that I chose: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.  That link will lead you to a NYT review, and I have to recommend this book even if you're not a fan of non-fiction, it's absolutely riveting.
Have a wonderful day today,
xoxDani

12 comments:

  1. Good morning - this looks delicious! Thought I would share a good Netflix series I got into while on my sick-bed: Broadchurch - a well written layered mystery/drama with excellent characters including a whole slew of journalists....Anna26x

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    1. Anna I LOVE Broadchurch! Such a good series. But I haven't seen the third one yet even though it was released in the spring? I don't think it's on Canadian Netflix yet. How far along are you? It's addictive. xx

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  2. ARE YOU ON A NEW TREND of POSTING OFTEN or have I been missing your POSTS this LAST YEAR!
    How do you find the time to POST DAILY???ALMOST anyway..........
    YOU ARE A WOMAN ON A MISSION and I APPLAUD YOU!
    I loved this PIE AS A CHILD........LOVED IT!
    XX

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    1. Thank you Contessa I post every morning and have been since November 30th, before that my blog was neglected, deleted etc etc. I finally decided I missed it and would it bring it back as a daily journal of sorts. I post first thing every morning before I read the depressing news etc. It frames my day in a positive way so it's been a great thing for me, and hopefully for whoever cares to read it as well.
      I wonder what The Italian would think of this pie? xx

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  3. Hi Dani, I remember that I have a vegetarian cookbook I got in 1989 and Shepherdess Pie is one of the recipes - using aduki beans. I never made it myself, but I remember that a friend did - I think I liked it back then!

    I am so afraid of falling on ice that I have been in the house since Monday. Today I ventured out to the gym - my husband had cleared the ice off of my car - but the door wouldn't open! I eventually got in the passenger side and pushed it open, then out again (no way I could clamber over to the driver's seat in my coat and boots!). Take care!

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    1. Patricia me too I hate the ice but of course I have to walk that dog of mine, she was so excited today because there was fresh snow sprinkled very prettily... over the ice. Nearly flipped over about 10 times. Oh I love adzuki beans and so funny because I just returned from the market with a can of them. I'm going to make this Shepherdess pie again tomorrow using those adzuki beans so thanks for the idea! Be careful out there. Geez the things we go through living in Canada during the winter, can't even get into the car! xx

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  4. The weather has been so odd, hasn't it. It certainly calls for comfort food like this. Xx

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    1. Jen yes the up and down is tiring. The worst thing is the ice, one of these days that fur pony is going to flip me right over! xx

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  5. Oh, Dani, do please be careful! We are between snowstorms here. The sidewalk is clear and dry but I hate it when it gets so icy. I just discovered all of the free things that come with our free public library cards –– newspapers, magazines, e books, languages, music, courses. I may not emerge till spring! I have to talk about a Canadian woman author. Any favourite suggestions? Also, the program includes a vignette on a Canadian woman artist and photographer. The shepherdess pie looks wonderful. I'm going out to see the birds before the weather turns colder! I haven't been posting as Anonymous so why the post doesn't come through as "Ellie's friend from Canada", I don't know.
    Ann

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    1. Quite right you're not posting as Anonymous so that's not the issue. But once again the comment is not being posted on the blog. I just saw this comment in my email feed so I copied and pasted it in under Anonymous. So weird! Why is this happening?
      My very favourite Canadian female author of ALL TIME is Alice Munro. She has been called Canada's Chekhov and it is not a lie.
      Don't you love the library? So happy you've found all of these good things to get through the winter! It seems like it will be a long one! Thanks Ann xx

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  6. Wow, it sounds like the snow in Canada just keeps on coming! I love your vege pie, so healthy. Back in the day, our boy J, aged about 3, wanted to know if Shepherd's Pie was for Christmas...I think he was doing the Nativity play at kinder. So ever after, we always make Shepherd's Pie on Christmas Eve. For a long time, I put little plastic shepherds from an old Nativity set on top of the potato. The kids loved it :)

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    1. Patricia I love your Shepherd's Pie tradition! How cute! Especially with the little shepherd on top :) Oh yes the snow will keep coming into April, that's how it is. We'll have some thaw which is the worst thing because then everything melts only to freeze again making for treacherous conditions. xx

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