Monday, October 25, 2010

Amazing Shepherd's Pie and Beer Bread

My daughter is almost 14 months old now, and can pretty much amuse herself with some toys in her play area for as long as it takes to make dinner. However, for those of you dealing with babies too young to entertain themselves, this version of Shepherd's Pie is easy to make and tastes absolutely phenomenal when you use ground lamb instead of beef. I was drinking a new and interesting bottle of Italian wine while I was cooking, however, and completely forgot to take any photos, so you are left with the next day's leftovers.


1 lb. (or so) ground lamb
1/3 cup beef broth
1 celery stick, chopped
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
3-4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 heaping spoonful light sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese (any kind will do)
1 12 oz can creamed corn

Put chopped potatoes in a pot and cover with water, then put the lid on and cook on high heat until the water starts to boil. Take the lid off, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Brown the lamb, onion, garlic and celery in a frying pan on medium heat, chopping up to loosen as it cooks. When mostly browned, add the beef broth, a little salt and pepper, and flour then mix to coat evenly, simmering on low another 4-5 minutes. When potatoes are done, drain and mash along with the butter, milk, sour cream, seasoned salt and pepper.

Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the meat mixture in the bottom of the dish first, then dump the whole can of creamed corn on top of that, spreading evenly. Top with the mashed potatoes, spread out evenly over that and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Do not cover, but place in oven for 20 minutes.

Eat and enjoy! I know I did.

As an extra side to this dish, you can also make a quick homemade beer bread.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 12 oz can/bottle of beer (we used Sam Adams Honey Brew last night)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, using your hands if necessary. The dough will be sticky. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, until hard on top.
Excellent served warm with butter as an accompaniment to the Shepherd's Pie.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Easy Corn Chowder

My mother said this was my grandma's easy cheater recipe for making corn and potato chowder, and since I had four potatoes from the farmer's market to use up I figured I'd give it a shot. It even made a decent breakfast, though it was meant for lunch.


4 medium white potatoes, scrubbed and chopped with the skin left on
1 shallot or 1/4 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 celery stick, chopped small
1 12 oz can creamed corn
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley flakes

Rinse off chopped potatoes in the pot, then add just enough water to almost cover them. Add a dash of extra salt and pepper to that and cover, then put on medium/high heat and bring to a boil.

Add celery, shallot, and garlic, and turn down to medium heat. Stir well and let cook about 5 minutes, until potatoes start to get tender.

Add all other ingredients and stir well, turning heat down to low and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup has the consistency and the potatoes as soft as you want.

Makes about 6-8 bowls of soup.

*Late edit: My mother told me I did it a little differently from grandma, but to make the soup even better, add a spoonful of bacon fat at the beginning and 1/4 cup of milk after you add the creamed corn near the end.*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butternut Squash and Carrot Medley

When I made this, it was supposed to be a side dish to meat and other things. Then I realized I'd totally forgotten to thaw the pork chops. So dinner it became!


1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Turn a large frying pan on medium heat and add the butter, letting it cover the bottom of the pan. Drop in the squash and carrots, and stir around to coat.

Cover and let cook about 12-15 minutes, turning the heat to low if it burns and occasionally stirring.

Then add the other remaining ingredients and stir well, cooking another 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Serves 4-5 people.