Shepherd’s pie is a popular Irish dish. Traditionally, the dish is cooked with lamb or mutton (goat’s meat). However, in many households across the globe, cooks have placed their personal touch and have substituted the lamb/mutton for chopped beef or some other meat.
Over the years, I do think I must have cooked this well-loved Irish dish at least half a dozen times. My first experience was a teenager in Home Economics class (high school) ‘many moons’ ago. Hmm, the taste was mouth-watering for me and my peers. By the way, I was taught to cook with chopped beef.
In the latter years as an adult, I cooked it on a few other occasions. My ‘guinea pigs’ were elated with the finishing dish on all occasions. Strangely enough, I’ve not cooked the dish for many years. So, a few days ago when I saw Carla Hall on The Chew putting her spin on the good old Irish dish, it brought back memories. As such, I decided to make my very own shepherd’s pie.
Clearly, there are different variations to the dish. Carla did hers with a crust at the bottom. I’ve never seen it done that way; however, it looked very delicious. In the past, I prepared mine with chopped beef without the crust; and so I made my way to the grocer. Guys, I’m not a big meat person. I guess that’s why I was not cognizant of the price of beef. The cost for a small package of chopped beef was through the roof.
I’m telling you guys, I was certainly taken aback with the astronomical cost of beef. After I recovered I decided to forego the chopped beef. I immediately went rogue. I decided on an amalgamation of two worlds. Yes guys, I made a decision to use Italian (mild) sausages. It’s like Antoinnetta meeting Patrick.
- Italian (mild) sausages (2or3)
- Chicken broth
- Medley of veggies (carrot,celery,bell peppers,onions,scallion,thyme,garlic)
- Corn starch (for thickening)
- Salt/black pepper
- Basil (dried)
- Irish potatoes (4)
- Sour cream
- Milk (whole milk)
- Olive oil
And so, there it was, I arrived home and fetched my three firm Italian sausages from the freezer. After a quick defrost, I gently snip the casing from each beautiful specimen. I then squeezed the slightly salty goodness in a hot and waiting skillet. I browned them and set aside. The excess oil was removed from the skillet and a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that I placed a diced medley of veggies like carrot, celery, onion, bell peppers and garlic to the pan.
Next, I added a dusting of cornstarch so as to thicken and create a sauce. After the flour was browned, I added a little chick broth and stirred. Fresh thyme and dried seasoning were then added. Oh, the aroma in my dwelling was out of this world. Under low heat, I returned the browned sausage pieces to the skillet and placed a lid on.
After a mouth-watering and reduced consistency was created I placed my creation in a glass baking dish. Already, my mouth was salivating in a huge way. It was time guys; it was time to collide the two worlds. At that point, I used my spatula to slather on the smooth, creamy and delicious mashed potatoes. I then sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on top with a very light drizzle of olive oil. The dish was placed in a 375 degree heated oven for about 10 minutes in order to set. Then, it was placed under a hot broiler for approximately six minutes for a brown and slightly crispy top.
Guys, the finished dish was unbelievable. The potato topping came out crusty, but, when I dug beneath with my spoon (yes, I had to use a spoon) I was greeted with a gush of succulent mix of sausage and veggies all mingled into one. Oh, what beautiful union! My palate was thankful. I did a happy River dance in my head. I was super happy.