Rain started to fall in the last couple of days. People fire up when it rains in California. People drive slower when it rains in California. People do not leave home when it rains in California. We are just not used to rain because we seldom get rain. But we need the rain BADLY!
I love rain. When it rains, I like to sit on the couch by the windows and stare at them, watching drops and drops of water crawl down the windows. I sometimes would run my fingers along the drop of water and follow its movement. My other hand would be holding a cup of hot tea. Just wish that our house has a fireplace, the wooden one. It would be so cozy.
W was excited when I told him I would make Shepherd’s Pie for dinner. I couldn’t think of anything better to have for dinner other than Shepherd’s Pie on a gloomy and rainy day.
I had this picture in my head when I thought of Shepherd’s Pie. It sort of reminds me of London (although I haven’t been there and wish to go there one day). I saw myself running and running in the rain, looking for a place to hide from the rain. I came across a pub and went in, soaking wet. The pub was warm with a fireplace. It was not crowded as it was late at night. It got some jazz music playing in the background. I sat at the bar and ordered a beer. And the waiter brought out a dish of Shepherd’s pie to my surprise. The top of the pie was creamy and the bottom was juicy. Another sip of the beer. I was in a happy place.
When dinner was served, W popped open a bottle of Stella Artois and said “This is like being at an Irish bar.” I looked at him with my eyes wide open in shocked. It sounded just like a picture that I imagined while making the pie. He tasted my thought! I painted a picture for him through food! How artistic was that? This made my night. It was not a quick meal, but well worth it.
Before we called it a night, W said “I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch.”
A side note:
I broiled on high heat for 5 minutes. After 25 minutes of baking, the top of the potato was not brown. To obtain an evenly brown and crispy potato top, I broiled on high heat for 3 – 5 minutes. It wouldn’t dry the pie either.
Shepherd’s Pie from Alton Brown at Food Network
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.