Julia Had A Little Lamb

Some days you just want to be lazy. Your bed is telling you to roll over, readjust the pillows, and burrow deeper into the comforter. That spot on the couch coaxes you to settle in wearing your comfy pajamas and spend the day NetFlixing Dr. Who (even the original series). On days like this I'm looking for comfort food. Something warm and hearty that I can grab a bowl to eat while I've got a blanket thrown over my knees and a good book in my lap. 

All I want to do today is absolutely nothing. I'd much rather wander the house in my Dr. Who pajamas, maybe take a nap or read a book. Anything except work. Since I couldn't do that because of an incredibly monstrous electric bill from last month, I went to work. But I armed myself with at least one comfort from home, Shepherds Pie. The combination of meat, potatoes, and vegetable paired with a hearty gravy makes it the perfect match for my lazy mental day.  

There's nothing wrong with a little prep before you start cooking. I like to do it, so I know what's coming up next in the recipe. I used to just start from the top of the list and work my way down until the disasterous white cake episode when I was about 12. (I thought egg whites meant I needed to boil the eggs and chop up the whites. Still haven't lived that one down.)

A lot of recipes call for the meat to be drained and set aside while the vegetables cook. I hate this because I feel like you end up losing a lot of great flavors. Instead, add the vegetables as the meat is nearing the end of cooking through and watch the flavor turn up to eleven.

I like a thicker gravy. (Insert dirty joke.) So before I add the liquid ingredients, I'll make a pan roux by tossing the flour with the meat and cooking until it smells like savory cookies.

I use a hand mixer when I mash the potatoes. So before I turn it on, I'll give the potatoes a few angry pushes with the beaters, then add the eggs, butter, cream, and seasoning.

Piercing the potatoes with a fork allows excess steam to escape, you the mash doesn't explode letting precious juices to escape.

Look at how golden those potatoes turn because of the eggs, butter, and the starches from the potatoes!

Julia's Shepherd's Pie

You Will Need:
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb pork sausage
16 oz bag of mixed vegetables*
1 onion, finely minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 tbsp flour
3 oz white wine
3 oz chicken stock, warm
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
5 large potatoes, peeled, halved, and boiled**
3 oz c milk
3 tbsp butter
3 egg yolks
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. 

Brown the lamb and sausage until almost cooked. Add the onions, garlic, and herbs and saute until tender. Add the frozen vegetables and cook until warm. Toss the entire mixture in flour until lightly coated. Add the wine, chicken stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until thickened.

Pour meat mixture into a casserole dish and top with the potatoes making sure to seal the edges. Pierce it with a fork several times. Bake until crisp and golden.

*For this recipe, I used the mix with carrots, peas, green beans, and corn.
** I recommend Yukon Gold potatoes as they boil very well so you can get those nice clumps when you mash them and they crisp up beautifully in the oven.


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