Tag Archives: potatoes

CORNED BEEF HASH SHAKSHUKA STYLE

Carol hosted our family dinner on the Sunday of Saint Patrick’s Day. The day is always cause for celebration because Irish roots in our family are deep. Carol’s husband’s family boasts an Irish surname and all of them have Irish first names. Everyone is a strong (And I do mean strong) alum of Notre Dame. The patriarch insists on speaking Gaelic whenever he has the opportunity. He often delivers Gaelic prayers at family gatherings. On the other hand, Susan’s family also has a strong Irish background, but I think most of them wear orange underwear. There is a rule that Irish politics are never discussed at family dinners, but the food is always Irish in origin. Carol made an elaborate dinner including shepherd’s pie (with lamb, of course), corned beef, and boiled new potatoes along with rice pudding. There were two loaves of Irish soda bread which disappeared straight away. Things started off with a cheese plate containing several Irish cheeses and a wedge of Welsh Cheddar. That served to mollify the odd man out – me – who has Welsh and German origins. I am pleased to report that in a blind tasting, the Welsh Cheddar won out over an Irish Cheddar. After the dinner, Carol sent us home with leftovers including the corned beef and boiled new potatoes.

Susan says that her favorite use of corned beef is in sandwiches, so of course our first meal was corned beef sandwiches. But we still had enough meat left over that we came up with another dinner. Corned beef hash is obvious and also a good way to use the boiled potatoes. I chopped up the corned beef and potatoes, along with an onion and fried them up like any good hash with the plan to top it with eggs. Somehow, though, it looked monochromatic. Ketchup is my usual condiment of choice, but this hash needed more. So I mixed up an impromptu tomato sauce and layered it between the eggs before I  popped it in the oven. The result was sort of a combination hash and shakshuka, but whatever, it made a good leftovers meal.

RECIPE

Corned Beef Hash Shakshuka Style

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (more or less) corned beef
  • 2 cups (more or less) boiled new potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup manzanilla salad olives, chopped coarsely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning herb mixture

Method

  1. Chop the beef, potatoes, and onion coarsely. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef, potatoes, and onion.  Sauté until the potatoes begin to crisp and the onion is wilted and tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a greased  8 x 8 inch glass baking pan, leveling the hash. Form four deep indentations in the mixture using a serving spoon. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives, garlic and ginger. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. When ready to assemble, sprinkle one-fourth of the grated mozzarella into each of the four indentations in the hash. Break an egg into each of the indentations. Pour the sauce onto the hash around the eggs. Sprinkle the herb mixture over the entire dish.
  4. Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 350°F for about 15 minutes until the whites of the eggs are set and the yolks are still runny. (As you can see, I left them in the oven a little too long) Watch carefully and remove from the oven when the eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve immediately.
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LAZY MAN’S COTTAGE PIE

Shepherd’s pie (if it’s made with lamb) or cottage pie (if it’s made with beef) are pub favorites in Britain. They’re favorites in our house, too. The ingredients are straightforward, and the recipes are pretty simple. But they do take a lot of time and effort, especially with the mashed potatoes. You scrub, peel, cube, boil, and rice the potatoes. Then you mix them with butter and milk or cream. Finally you layer them over the meat mixture and bake.

It occurred to me that maybe there was a simpler way to deal with the potatoes. Another family favorite is smashed garlic potatoes where you boil russet potatoes in their skins and then mash them coarsely with butter and garlic so they still have lots of lumps, the bane of any self-respecting silky mashed potato. A little egg to bind them together and they might make a tasty – and easy – topping for cottage or shepherd’s pie. I thought I would give it a try. Here’s the result.

RECIPE

Lazy Man’s Cottage Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 6 snacking peppers, seeded and sliced into thin rings
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef stock + more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • melted butter for top

Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and stir, cooking until they are translucent but not browned. Add the ground beef, breaking up any large pieces. Stir frequently until the beef is lightly browned and all pink is gone. Stir in the peppers and mushrooms and cook for another few minutes until the peppers are wilted and the mushrooms are lightly browned and cooked through.
  2. Stir in the flour to cover all the other ingredients and cook for another few minutes until the oil is absorbed and the flour is cooked through. Add the beef stock and stir to make a gravy. Add stock until the gravy is the consistency that suits you.
  3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning and cook a few more minutes. Then transfer to a well-buttered oven-proof dish (a large soufflé dish is perfect) and set aside until you are ready to add the potatoes.
  4. While you are preparing the meat filling, place the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot of well-salted water and bring to the boil. Boil the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a kitchen fork with no resistance. This may take as long as 50-60 minutes.
  5. Remove the boiled potatoes from the heat and drain. Cool enough that you can handle them easily. Mash the potatoes coarsely with a large fork or a potato masher, Leave large chunks. Stir in the butter, half-and-half, and eggs. Cool the potatoes enough that the eggs don’t scramble.
  6. Cover the meat mixture with the potatoes, brush the top with melted butter, and bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 400° for about 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbling.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. Serve while still warm. Should serve 4 persons.

 

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LEEK AND POTATO SOUP – VITA-MIX VERSION

My Vita-Mix is a new gadget that I have had a good time learning about. It is very efficient in chopping. Instructions call for using small volumes of food to chop. That is important because the chopped pieces are thrown against the sides of the container, and chopping stops before the food is turned into mush. That means that chopping large amounts of food requires several passes. That slows down the process, but still – 10 seconds to chop a cup of carrots is a remarkable efficiency. The big bonus is puréeing large volumes of soup into the smoothest dish one can imagine. You get to do both of those processes with the recipe for leek and potato soup. Actually, I think you could do the same thing with a food processor or an old-fashioned blender. For that matter, you could even use a knife and chop things by hand. But then it wouldn’t be as much fun.

RECIPE

Leek and Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks, cut into 1 inch slices, white and pale green parts only
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper

Method

  1. Set Vita-Mix controls to Variable and speed 3. Fasten the lid with the center cap removed. Turn on the machine and by cupfuls, pour the cut-up leeks through the opening. Pulse 10 times. Turn off the motor. Transfer the chopped leeks to a bowl. Repeat the process until the leeks have all been chopped.
  2. Repeat the above steps to chop the onion.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion, stir and cover. Sweat the vegetables until they are translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, cream, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Use more if needed for taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 4o minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove from the heat.
  5. Cool the soup mixture until it is easy to work with. Remove the parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Then, in three divided portions, add the mixture to the Vita-Mix container. Make sure the top and top are well seated on the container. With the settings on “Variable” and “8” speed, process the mixture for 30 seconds until it is smooth. Combine the three batches. Reheat, garnish with minced scallion greens or chives if desired, and serve immediately. You may also refrigerate and then serve chilled. Makes about 12 cups.

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TWICE-BAKED POTATOES

There were a few more items in our fairly bare cupboard when we returned from our Colorado visit. Besides, I was holding off a trip to the grocery store for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I felt a bit lazy.

I found two russet potatoes, and baked potatoes came to mind. They are certainly easy, but they also seemed a little boring. Twice-baked potatoes use almost exactly the same ingredients, but somehow they seem a little more festive, so that’s what I decided to do.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

RECIPE

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • vegetable shortening
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 4 crimini mushrooms, chopped coarsely
  • 4 tablespoons butter + more for the topping
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Rub the potatoes all over with vegetable shortening, pierce on both sides in several places with a kitchen fork and place on a baking rack in the middle of an oven preheated to 350°F. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and cool until the potatoes are easy to handle.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and with a large spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about ¼ inch rim intact. Try not to pierce the skin. Transfer the scooped out flesh to a large bowl. Mash coarsely with a table fork.
  3. In the meantime, sauté the bacon in a small pan over medium-low heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on several layers of paper towelling and crumble when cooled. Set aside.
  4. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat in the still hot pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  5. Melt the butter, and stir it into the mashed potatoes along with the cream and sour cream. Then add the shallot, garlic and Gruyère cheese. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the hollowed potato shells. Smooth the tops, paint with more melted butter using a pastry brush. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes. Then increase the oven temperature to 400°F and continue to bake until the tops of the stuffed potatoes are browned, about 10 more minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Two potato halves make a light dinner or lunch. One potato half is a good side dish.

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SPUDS ‘N’ WHISKEY CHEESE

When we arrived back home, I downloaded my camera to see if I had managed to capture any images of our visit to California. Here are a few of those memories:

Among the things we found in our cooler from the trip were some fragments of cheese that we had bought in Lodi. The night before our return home, Peter and his family stopped by our apartment on their way back to the Bay Area from a ski day in Kirkwood. We enjoyed some local wine and a plate of cheese before we went out to dinner.

We had found the cheese at a great little cheese shop on School Street, the main drag of Lodi’s charming historic downtown. Cheese Central is owned by a very pleasant woman, Cindy Della Monica, who clearly enjoys what she is doing. Most cheesemongers seem to have a good time and love to talk about cheese. That, and free samples, helps them sell their products. Karen, Cindy’s very knowledgeable assistant, was happier and more enthusiastic than any other cheesemonger I have ever met. She shared some excellent samples and gave us some very good suggestions.

We wound up buying a French epoisse cut fresh from a three-pound log, a Spanish cinco lanzas, and a Welsh cheddar, along with some crackers and a bit of quince paste membrillo. The cinco lanzas is made  by Queso García Baquero in La Mancha in the style of manchego (even with a similar dark grass imprint on the rind) but instead of sheep milk, it is made from a secret blend of cow, sheep, and goat milk. It went well with the membrillo. The Welsh cheddar was the big surprise. It is called “Amber Mist” and is made by the Snowdonia Cheese Company. The surprise is that the cheese is soft and crumbly because of added Scotch whiskey which adds to the flavor without being overpowering.

We had a wonderful time with Peter’s family; the two girls loved the membrillo and all of the cheeses along with some heart-shaped water biscuits. Even at that, there were leftovers. But not enough for another cheese party when we got home. Still, the cheeses wouldn’t last forever, and they were too delicious to throw out. That’s when I decided to use them for a special mac and cheese. Our three cheeses went well together, but you should be careful with your choices. The cheese should melt, so no hard cheeses. Blue cheeses might overpower any others. Stinky cheese should not be included, and after a two-day road trip the epoisse came close to disqualifying itself.

Somehow mac and cheese seemed to be a bit prosaic. I substituted potatoes for pasta, added some more ingredients, and poured in a little extra whiskey to flavor things a bit more.  I used some Italian guanciale (cured hog cheek) but you can easily substitute pancetta or bacon or even nothing. Here’s the ad hoc recipe. It turned out pretty good, I think.

RECIPE

Spuds ‘n’ Whiskey Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced, ½ inch cubes
  • 4 ounces guanciale, trimmed of skin and diced (Use pancetta or bacon if you prefer, or omit)
  • 2 medium crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions sliced (include green tops)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 ounces Scotch whiskey (don’t use your 18-year-old single malt) or other whiskey*** Optional
  • salt and pepper
  • leftover cheeses (about 4 ounces)
  • butter for preparing baking dish and topping the casserole filling
  • panko
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Method

  1. In a heavy pot, cover the cubed potatoes with well salted water, bring to the boil, and cook for 10-12 minutes until the potatoes have softened but not cooked through. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, sauté the guanciale over medium heat until it is crispy. Drain on several thicknesses of paper towel and set aside. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat; add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the scallions and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter until it has stopped foaming. Add the flour and stir while cooking another 5 minutes until the mixture is cooked but not browned. Stir in the milk and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer. Stir in the whiskey, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Over low heat, add the leftover pieces of cheese to the white sauce. Grate the cheese if it is in large chunks. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
  6. Stir in the sautéed guanciale,, mushrooms, and scallions.
  7. Combine the potatoes and sauce.
  8. Prepare a baking dish by liberally buttering the inside of a baking dish and coating the inside with panko. Transfer the potato-sauce mixture to the baking dish, and top with more panko and grated Parmesan. With a pastry brush, paint the top of the casserole with melted butter.
  9. Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 350°F for one hour until the top is browned and bubbling. Serve while still warm.

 

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CAJUN CRAWFISH BOIL – IN SILICON VALLEY??

Our children grew up in Louisiana, and now they all live in California.They still love authentic Creole and Cajun cooking, but it is definitely hard to come by in the Golden State. For the last several years, my son and his wife have tried to change that. Every spring – crawfish season – they have a backyard crawfish boil for their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and their families. As is usual with crawfish boils, it has become a bigger and bigger production each year.

As an aside, there is a strict Louisiana terminology for the crustaceans: crayfish are what you dissect in high school biology classes; crawdads are what you catch for fishing expeditions; crawfish are what you eat. Often the experience of the boil participants becomes evident depending upon what they call the main dish. In Louisiana, mudbug is a perfectly acceptable alternative term, but in other places, the name causes a bit of squeamishness.

In preparation for the party, my son has consulted  one of friends from Louisiana known for his crawfish cooking skills. Peter has read lots of recipes in cookbooks and online. Most importantly, he has identified a reputable and reliable source for authentic Louisiana mudbugs. Then, there is the ordering process to make certain that the crawfish are shipped at the right time and arrive as scheduled so that they are still lively. Crawfish season starts during the winter months. Then, the critters are small but with soft shells. By now, almost the end of the season, the crawfish are much bigger, but their shells are often hard enough that novice eaters have problems getting to the succulent tail meat.

When the date of the party is set, my son places his order with Louisiana Crawfish Company in Natchitoches, LA.  The crawfish cost from $3.50 to $6.00 a pound depending upon size and quality and how many you order.  (Crawfish cost 89 cents a pound for our first crawfish boil 40 years ago.)  At this point, the key question is always how many should you order? For a novice crowd, allow 1 pound per person. For crawfish fans, allow 2 pounds per person. For aficionados (just about everyone in Louisiana) allow 5 pounds per person. Remember, if there are leftovers – unlikely – you can harvest the tail meat and freeze it for crawfish étoufée at some later time.  Of course, there are overnight shipment expenses, so the cost for crawfish for an average-sized party will run to close to $300.

The next step is to plan the rest of the menu. There are some absolutely necessary items: ice-cold beer, corn on the cob, new potatoes, onions, ice-cold beer, and ice-cold beer. Then there are optionals: something to eat while you wait for the crawfish to cook, bread or corn bread, coleslaw, watermelon, and desserts. Guests usually volunteer to bring a dessert. By all means, take them up on their offer.

There are certain equipment requirements for  a successful boil. You will need a large plastic or galvanized tub to purge the crawfish before you cook them. A high temperature propane burner will get the water boiling as quickly as possible. You also need to have a very sturdy stand that will hold a very heavy pot of water. The largest cooking pot and lid that you can find – 50 gallons is common – will let you cook a good-sized batch at one time. Find a canoe paddle for stirring the pot. You will need a large strainer with handle in order to scoop out the crawfish and vegetables when they are cooked.  A table covered with newspapers  will hold a batch of food for guests to get to. With a genteel group, paper plates should be in abundance. For serious crawfish eaters, cardboard flats of the sort you get with cases of beer work better.

 

STARTING THE BOIL

Remember, it takes a lot of heat and a long time to bring 30-40 gallons of water to the boil, so start this step several hours before you plan on eating. If the water boils too soon, you can always turn the temperature down for a time. Light the fire on the burner and adjust it to a hot flame. Be sure to have enough propane. There is nothing worse than running out of propane in the midst of a boil.  Fill the cooking pot with water from your garden hose. You will probably need two people to lift the pot; one gallon of water weighs 8.35 pounds. Season the water with enough salt to taste briny – a cup or two should be enough. Add two lemons cut in half. Drop in two bags of Zatarain’s Crawfish and Crab Boil. If you can’t find the bags, a bottle of the liquid variety should be enough. If you want, you can add some paprika and chile powder.  With most orders, Louisiana Crawfish Company will include a container of their Creole seasoning. It is really not necessary to add any more seasoning to the water, because you’ll be sprinkling on the cooked crawfish.

PURGING THE CRAWFISH

The crawfish will arrive in large sacks with lots of ice packed around them. Since they are cold-blooded, the crawfish will be alive but not very lively. You need to wake them up in a tub of water to which you have added a goodly amount of salt – half a box should be enough. The salt will cause the crawfish to empty their alimentary tract, so the water will become very dirty looking. You can drain the water and do a second treatment until the water clears, but be sure to drain the water as the crawfish will die if left in the water. Pick out any crawfish that float to the surface of the water, as they have most likely died in transit. Alton Brown declares that there are better ways to accomplish this step, but hey, he’s from Georgia and not a real Cajun.

PREPARING VEGETABLES

While the water is heating and crawfish are purging, prepare the vegetables that will cook with the crawfish. Remove the husks  and silks of fresh ears of corn. Break each ear in half. Allow 1 to 2 ears per guest. If necessary, scrub baseball-sized red potatoes. If you can only find larger potatoes, cut them in half. Allow 1 to 3 potatoes for each guest. Remove the outer husk from golf ball to baseball sized onions.  Allow 1 to 2 onions for each guest.

COOKING

The water must be at a full boil when you are ready to cook. Add the onions and potatoes first, as they will take the longest to cook. After about 15 minutes, add crawfish and corn. Add enough that the guests already in line can get several. From time to time, stir the pot with your paddle. When you think the crawfish are done, around 15 minutes (just to be sure, the cook usually samples from time to time), snag one and test for doneness. When everything is cooked, use your strainer to retrieve everything and dup  it out on the newspaper-covered table. Sprinkle with chile powder or Creole seasoning. Then encourage folks to help themselves while you get ready for your next batch. If you want, you can increase the spiciness of subsequent batches by adding  chile powder or Creole seasoning as you start each batch. This is often a good idea if not everyone likes spicy crawfish, so by this technique, the first batches are not as spicy, and they get spicier as time goes on, to go with the ice-cold beer.

HOW TO EAT A CRAWFISH

Eating your first crawfish is a little intimidating, especially if you have never had instruction. It’s actually very easy: just pull the crawfish apart at the joint between the body and the tail; then pry open the first ring of the tail shell with your thumbnail, squeeze  the tail fan firmly between the thumb and index finger of your other hand; and the tail meat will slide into your waiting mouth. The process is not always that easy and smooth, but with a little practice you will be eating crawfish as fast as you can pull them apart,

More advanced eaters relish the little morsel of fat that stays in the thorax shell and will “suck the head” to extract the tasty treat.

CLEANING UP

In preparing a crawfish boil, you will wind up using a lot of heavily salted water. Never empty the leftover water on the lawn or in your flower beds or you will wind up with a yellow spot in the grass or dead peonies.

As to the shells, it is a good idea to station plastic-lined garbage cans around the yard.  Then, when the party is over, you can just tie up the bags and dispose of them. Be aware that there is nothing that smells as bad as day-old crawfish bodies, so dispose of them as quickly as you can. They do not make good compost.

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SOUTHWESTERN STYLE SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH PICO DE GALLO

I am sure that my UK blogger friends are looking at this thinking, “What in the hell does he know about shepherd’s pie?” They are probably right even though this is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Detractors should be aware that the US Southwest is sheep country, and we eat a lot of lamb. It is also true that we have a hard time resisting putting green chile in just about everything. I suspect that someone has even made green chile ice cream.

Cooked lamb ready for the pie

Canned chopped green chiles

Chopped potatoes

I have tried to be true to the basic recipe while making it a uniquely Southwestern (USA, that is) by using local ingredients. That means roasted Hatch green chiles, asadero cheese ( a cheese that is made with a method similar to that used for mozzarella. Curds are cooked gently in hot water and then stretched. It is popular in Mexico and the southwestern United States, but if you can’t find it you can use mozzarella or even Monterrey jack.)  You could also use the Mexican cheese, queso fresco, and if you can’t find that, fresh farmer’s cheese will do.  As with real shepherd’s pie, the main ingredient is lamb.

Ready for the oven

Americans often like to douse their shepherd’s pie with ketchup (I hear another UK shudder), but this version seems to cry out for pico de gallo. This is a salsa made with fresh ingredients. The name means “rooster’s beak” in Spanish. There are several explanations for how the name came to be, but none sound very likely.

Baked and ready to eat

RECIPES

Southwestern Style Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 8 ounces, green chiles, chopped (fresh, frozen, or canned) Heat according to your preference
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano, shredded between your palms
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup water or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup asadero cheese, chopped or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon Cholula hot sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, for top

Method

  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan until it shimmers. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, stirring frequently to prevent browning.
  • Add the ground lamb and continue to stir until the lamb is lightly browned
  • Stir in the  green chiles, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the ingredients are well combined. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and stir until everything is well coated. Cook long enough (5 minutes or so) so that the flour loses its raw taste.
  • Add the water or stock and stir until the gravy thickens. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more water if you want a thinner gravy. Set aside for final assembly
  • In the meantime, peel and cube the potatoes. Put them in a medium pot with salted water. Bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer. Stir in the butter, cream, and grated cheese. Add a dash of hot sauce if you wish and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper
  • Butter the insides of an oven-proof casserole. Pour the meat mixture into the prepared dish, top with the mashed potatoes, and paint with melted butter
  • Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 325° for about 60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • ½ yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 green onions, cleaned and coarsely chopped, including the green tops
  • 2 fresh Anaheim chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • A generous handful of cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Blanch the tomato for 10 seconds in boiling water. Then peel, seed, and chop coarsely
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust the seasoning, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Serve like any other salsa. Use generously on the Southwestern Style Shepherd’s Pie.

Southwestern style shepherd’s pie with pico de gallo on the side

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