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SHEPHERD’S PIE

Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.

This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.

If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!

You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!

One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.

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SHEPHERD'S PIE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Instructions
MEAT FILLING
  1. Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
  3. Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
MASHED POTATOES
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
  2. Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
  3. Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
  2. Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  3. Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.

RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES

This is my absolute favorite way to indulge in mashed potatoes, that does not have some kind of extra-indulgent aged cheddar in it. I don’t always follow this recipe specifically but I do come by fairly close. The last couple of years I’ve replaced milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and I honestly can’t taste a difference. If anything it lacks an extra thicker texture but flavor is still there. I also sometimes use vegetable stock if I don’t have chicken stock and it works just as great.

BUT unless you have a really good quality garlic powder that is super fine, not those tiny granules then you must use fresh garlic. Oh, and of course fresh ground pepper instead of store bought ground pepper makes a big difference. I NEVER not use fresh ground pepper. It’s a must! Okay, that’s all. ENJOY!

 

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RED SKIN MASHED POTATOES
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with water just to the very top of the potatoes.
  2. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes into a colander. Place the butter and garlic into the pot, add the potatoes and mash them about half way. Add the chicken stock and milk then finish mashing until desired consistency. Add a little more chicken stock if the potatoes seem dry.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

PUMPKIN MUFFIN TOPS

Are you one of those people that only eats the top of a muffin? Or ever wish you could just have one big muffin top instead? Me too! I love this time of year and I can’t really say that enough so I apologize if I sound like a broken record. With Spring and Summer time I tend to lose my interest in heavy foods so that by the time Autumn comes, I’m all for recipes like this. Maybe I indulge a bit too much at times but I figure I go the other half of the year recovering, haha!

Okay to the point! For all you pumpkin lovers out there and all the yummy spices that go hand-in-hand with pumpkin, you’re gonna love these. They come out so tender, not too sweet leaving room for the sweet icing. And afterwards you’ll probably not like me anymore because from that moment forward you’ll only want to eat muffin tops. I’ll admit to having one for breakfast in the morning but when they’re around I just can’t help it. Enough of my babble! Enjoy and let me know how they turn out for you.


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PUMPKIN MUFFIN TOPS
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
MUFFIN TOPS
GLAZE
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
MUFFIN TOPS
GLAZE
Instructions
MUFFIN TOPS
  1. In a large bowl, with a whisk combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, salt, and set it aside.
  2. In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Then add the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla extract.
  3. Grab your bowl of dry ingredients and pour a third of it into the mixture until it’s fairly incorporated. Do this two more times until all of the dry ingredients are mixed together with the wet, creating a dough.
  4. Place the cookie dough using a tablespoon and slightly flatten each one.
  5. Bake the muffin tops at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden orange. Let them cool completely before drizzling the glaze on top.
GLAZE
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together and whisk together thoroughly. Add more milk as needed until you get a consistency that is like honey.

PISTACHIO OLIVE OIL COOKIES

Slighty sweet, buttery, crumbly and nutty! This is my Italian version of a sugar cookie. There is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating a few healthier ingredients to a satisfying treat to not feel AS BAD about indulging into sugar cookies. There are no hard to find flours in this recipe; only a few added things to change the flavor profile. If you love pistachios as much as I do then you’ll really enjoy them. I suggest a scoop of pistachio gelato with a cookie. Or maybe a ice cream sandwich.


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PISTACHIO OLIVE OIL COOKIES
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  2. In a standing mixer on low combine the butter, olive oil, and sugar until well incorporated. As the mixer is still on add the egg, then the milk and vanilla extract. When everything is mixed together, add the flour in three parts. Don’t over mix. The dough should feel extra tender and wet.
  3. Flour a surface and the top of your dough so you can form it into a long log about 2 inches round. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour in the refrigerator.
  4. Once the dough is chilled remove the plastic wrap and roll the log of dough into the finely chopped pistachio nuts. Use your fingers to gently secure the nuts into the dough and cut ¼ inch slices.
  5. Place the cookie slices onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 F degrees for about 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
Recipe Notes

You can always place more of the pistachios on top of the cookies for some extra nuttiness.