Shepard’s Pie

It’s wintery outside and very, very cold.  Why not embrace the cold with some quick, warm Shepard’s Pie?

shepards pie

Shepard’s Pie

For the filling
1 lb Ground beef ( I used grass fed beef) cooked and drained of excess fat
1 med/large onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 jar diced tomatoes (14-16 oz) I used home made canned. Drain and set tomato juice aside.
Green ends of a leek or a couple of green onions (was cleaning out the fridge)
potato starch
2 tsp beef broth concentrate (or cook beef broth down to concentrate) Trader Joe broth packets work great
2 bay leaves or ground bay
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
garlic – as much as you like, at least 2 cloves
salt and fresh cracked pepper

For the topping
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream or milk as needed
chives or finely chopped leek tips – add enough to give both color and flavor
1/4 or more parmesan
s and fresh cracked p

Boil potatoes until cooked, drain and save the potato starch water. Set water aside. Make mashed potatoes with the topping ingredients.
Brown beef, onion and carrot together in an oven proof 2 quart pan.  If you don’t have one, use any frying pan and later pour the filling into an 2 quart oven proof dish or a large pie plate. Drain off any excess fat. Make a slurry with the drained tomato juice and potato starch. Add herbs, garlic and beef concentrate to slurry. Add slurry to the beef mixture and bring to a boil. Add potato water as needed to thicken and make a thick sauce. Top with mashed potatoes. Broil the potatoes until golden brown. Enjoy.


shepards pie meat mix with tomatoes

mashed potatoes for shepards pie


shepards pie

We used local beef, tomatoes from the garden, potatoes from the farm and local leeks for this dish.
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Menu Swap October 6th: pears and localvore meals

It’s the end of the gardening season here in Michigan.  So I greet you with a parting shot of sunniness in the rain – the last sunflower of the season.  Ah such a bittersweet ending to the summer.  However cool crisp autumnal smells are in the air and if it were not for the loss of gardening, fall would be the best time of the year.  Oh who am I kidding, it is the best time of the year!!

July 08 food and garden 461

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Cheryl over at Gluten Free Goodness and the ingredient is pears.  I love sliced fresh pears on a platter with mixed cheeses and crackers.   I love a nice pear and almond tart.  My brother always whips one up when he visits in the fall.  We have a great pear tree on the farm, Bosc.  I really like the rusty textured skin of a Bosc pear.  Smooth green skinned pears have nothing on a dark green rust spattered fruit.  Russeted, what a great word for it.

Unfortunately, the pears are waiting for me up at the farm and not here in lovely Lansing where Iive.  I have a hard time running out and purchasing fruit, unless desperate, as I am from a fruit farm and most of the fruit that I eat comes from the farm.  With the exception of tropical fruit splurges (including limes, which I can’t live without, for many reasons), I am completely a fruit localvore and specifically a family farm localvore.  We are going up next weekend though and I will bring some back, along with honey crisp apples.

This week on our menu we will be eating:

Russian banana fingerling potatoes purple potatoes in the garden

Zoe in the fennel

Pork porchetta style, with rosemary, garlic, sage and fennel, slow roasted over fennel fronds and leeks with chive, roasted garlic smashed potatoes.  Everything in this dish is local (even the butter in the potatoes) except the salt and pepper and pork – but we will soon have a new piggie in the freezer.

Poblano en arroz con carne y queso – one of my favorite comfort foods – inside out Mexican stuffed poblano peppers.  We will be using some local grass feed beef in this dish as well as the poblanos that I harvested from the garden before the freeze last weekend.  You can probably tell from the name of this one (that I made up) that I could use another Spanish lesson!

Chicken alla Diavola with grilled potatoes in Chianti vinegar from Mario Batali’s book (libraries are great!).

Hoisin scallion fried rice with tofu based on a recipe from Lynn Rosetto Casper’s book How to Eat.

Scandinavian spiced meatballs with buttered leeks with tarragon. Once again, the beef, leeks, butter and tarragon are all local. This became Swedish meatballs(with nutmeg and allspice) with creme fraiche and green onion dill  Reibekuchen with green beans. Thanks to the spice trade 400 years ago, what was only available in Indonesia, is now available to spice my dinner.  I draw the line at only using local herbs and spices.  We do have a local Penzeys (does that count) an hour away.

It is a shorter menu this week as on Friday we are heading up to Leelanau for the weekend and will be bringing our year’s supply of free range, organic chicken back with us.  Well, it is probably a 6 month supply. My brother put our order in the last batch of chickens raised this summer and we have been waiting a long time for some local chicken.

Oh yeah and we are buying our own steer along with my brother and sister in law, so for the next year, we are learning (from a distance) how to raise Scottish Highlander cattle.  And then we will eat them.  But not until they are all grown up on grass, which takes longer than feeding them on corn, which their systems can’t handle.  Four years ago if you would have asked me if I would ever raise animals outside of pets, I would have said no way.  We have plans to put in a chicken coop for 6 egg layers or so this fall/winter and fill it with chickens in the spring.   Urban farming in the backyard.

Ok, time to go cook dinner!

i’m out

Menu of the Week March 31st: Lemons!

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday - Lemons
This week’s menu swap is hosted by Gluten Free Mommy and the ingredient is lemon! The ironic thing is I used about a dozen lemons in last week’s menu. I was in a lemon mood and ate most of the 8×8 pan of double lemon bars myself over the week.

Sunday: Wales, home of the leek

Leek Potato soup with tarragon

Monday: Alsatian

Trout Choucroute from March Gourmet mag – perhaps. I will be subbing Artic Char. I am not sure about fish and sauerkraut. Sides will be broccoli, maybe in casserole form, and polenta. Edited to add – this is definitely a dish that we will not, repeat not be making again.  The fish itself was tasty, but the rest of the dish was a sour flop.  Even my polenta experiment didn’t work the way I planned.  Oh well.

Tuesday: Indian

Boti Gosht with grass fed beef and lemon rice, dal (maybe), bajji (onion fritters with chickpeas) and green mango salad

Wednesday: New Mexican

Tamales with red chile sauce

Thursday: All American

Mac and cheese with a green salad

Friday: Southwest fusion

White Chicken Chili loaded with green chiles and creamy cornbread. Since my bf won’t eat beans, I will be pureeing them in a known attempt to disguise them and he will see if he can get over his psychological bean burden. Wish me luck!

Happy eating!

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