Shepherd’s Pie

Picnik collage

i’m calling bear out. she thought shepherd’s pie had a crust. not a mashed potato with cheesy goodness on top crust, but actual PIE CRUST. because you know, the name has the word PIE in it and she thought it was an actual pie. bless her heart. this is one of the reasons why i heart me some bear.

on saturday, she impressed me with some strawberry lemonade (she violated them little things with a straw. i’ll never be able to look at them the same way again…), a spinach & mandarin orange salad and some tarty lemon chess pies. AND THEN! her man Joe made us go out & look at some predatory hawks or something. me? i just made shepherd’s pie, sans pie crust.

Shepherd’s Pie
i made it up as a i went along. listen, if you follow my food blog you’ll know that when i make stuff up, i rarely take note of measurements and i use what is on hand and available. it’s how i cook. for bear’s and her reader’s purposes, i will do my very best to chronicle how i made this particular dish.

2lbs ground chicken
1/2 big ass onion, rough chopped
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
dried rosemary
dried sage
container of button mushrooms
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon butter

for mashed potatoes:
4-5 good sized potatoes, cleaned and cut to roughly same size
small container of sour cream
heavy cream (milk or light cream can also be used, it’s just what i grabbed at the store)
salt/pepper to taste
bag of shredded cheddar cheese

boil the potatoes until fork-tender. drain and put them back into the hot pot. using a masher or fork, mash until desired consistency. add in the sour cream and heavy cream until you’ve got mashed potatoes. salt/pepper to taste. set aside.

preheat oven to 350F.

in a big, heavy skillet, add a bit of oil and saute the onions until translucent and fragrant, dash of salt/pepper. push to the side of pan and add in the ground chicken. crumble & browtn thru. season with salt/pepper (notice the trend? you want to season each layer, but let’s not too crazy, you can always add salt but you can’t take it out.) thoroughly mix the entire pan, ensuring that the onions & meat are mixed. from there, throw in the mushrooms. this is where i get in-authentic. i’ve read some recipes that call for garlic and thyme and turnips. i just went with what was on hand. i threw in a bit of dried rosemary and sage, and again, season with salt/pepper, along with a few generous dashes of worcestershire sauce. by this time, the oil and meat drippings is there. push what you can to the side, leaving a small space to make some roux, for the gravy. (you don’t want a dry ass shep pie.) in a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together and add directly to the juice in the pan. stir in small circles until the butter flour mixture is incorporated into the drippings, add a bit of water if you need to. it should be thick and gravy-like. mix all over. in small ramekins or a casserole dish, divvy up the meat mixture on the bottom. even out. on top, add on the mashed potatoes, smoothing it all. last, sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese. bake for 30-45 minutes, until top is nice and crunchy brown.

serve immediately.