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I like to refer to myself as a ‘foodie in training’- I love food, experimental cooking and going to new restaurants but am by no means a trained expert. I am however going to start dedicating Friday posts to food- to share my experiences and recipes that have worked for me. So, here’s to my first foodie Friday!

Fall is officially here and it is starting to get chilly in San Francisco. One of our favourite cold weather comfort foods is shepherd’s pie. After some trial and error, I have settled with a great recipe from Martha Stewart (plus some tweaks) that warms the belly.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds freshly ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook lamb until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a colander set in a bowl; let fat drain off and discard.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups water, and lamb. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Divide among eight 8-ounce ramekins or two 9-inch glass pie dishes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
  5. In pan, bring milk and butter to a simmer; remove from heat. Return potatoes; mash. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread over pies; use a fork to make peaks. Bake on a baking sheet until tops are browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly; serve.

Some of my tips:

– I cut the recipe in half as I am only cooking for two. We generally eat a portion each (or sometimes a portion and half!) and I will either freeze the rest or each for lunch later in the week.

– Add fresh rosemary when initially cooking the lamb and also lay some twigs over the pie whilst baking. The rosemary aroma will be there with every bite but not overpowering.

– Add corn to the lamb mixture or have some as a side dish. It adds a nice crunch texture.

– Before sticking the pie in the oven, add some fun shapes with a fork or with cookie cutters.

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