Monday, December 17, 2012

Better-for-you Shepherds Pie

We have our first Real Snow up here in Maine. It is beautiful, and festive-- and the perfect Snow Man Making Snow if I felt so inclined to haul out my ski pants and make one. Because that is the thing about snow. It is wet and it is cold and it makes me terrified to drive. But I have to remind myself (and remind myself, and remind myself) of my complete and utter childhood joy at waking up and seeing the world white. As a kid, it meant absolute and utter FUN for the day. Clumsy snowball fights. Faulty snow fort creations. Hot chocolate breaks when my mother would wave us inside and we would sip, red cheeked, from steaming mugs of sweet cocoa before rushing back into the white universe. It was nice back then. And it is beautiful now. But I've lost the joy.

 Sometimes I feel blue. I wish I didn't, but I do, so there it is. Sometimes all the Bad in the world makes me ache, and I don't know how I will make it a safe place for my children. And at the same time, I desperately hope that by having children, and teaching them and loving them well, they will be able to make this place filled with a little more goodness. Sometimes I hope that, even though my job isn't glamorous or terribly important, it will influence every child least a little. To love the simple things. To love music, and beauty, and to bring that to people around them. At least I can hope.
Last night Nick, Jon, and I went to see The Hobbit. Which I LOVED! Although I am not surprised its gotten mediocre reviews...but to me, it was perfect. Typically I have a hard time with books-turned-to-movies, and I loved the in depth and leisurely feel of the film. I loved that they were able to include so much of the book, and the background of what I was (as a nerdy kid) TOTALLY OBSESSED with. That is: Middle Earth. So, yes please, bring on another 3 hour movie. And another one after that. I can take it.

Before the movie, we ate Shepherds Pie (at last I am crawling to the point) and it was delicious. Nick has been asking and asking me for this particular meal for a while now, and I've been hesitant to make it. Because a. I have no emotional attachment to this dish whatsoever because I don't remember having it as a kid and b. it seems like a heavy meal. But I lightened it up a touch, and added some extra flavor and flair to the innards of the 'pie'. And I loved it. So did Nick. And now he will stop begging for it. Maybe. He might start begging even more I guess.
Creamy Lighter Mashed potatoes on top of a savory hamburg-sausage base filled with squash, carrots, onions, and green beans. It's warm, filling, and it only took me an hour to make from start finish.
Mashed potatoes:
2 average sized potatoes
3/4 head of cauliflower
1/3 milk (I used raw milk)
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 clove garlic

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2/3 cup butternut squash, chopped
3/4 lb good quality hamburger
1 small fresh sausage or kielbasa
1 cup frozen green beans
2 tbs flour
1/2 tbs rosemary
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 cup chicken broth 
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Cut the potatoes (skins on) and steam them until they're soft. Remove and place them in a food processor, and steam the cauliflower for about ten minutes. Pulse the potatoes in the processor with some of the butter, half of the milk, the garlic clove, and some s+p. Put it into a bowl, and puree the (now soft) cauliflower with the rest of the milk and butter until very smooth. Add it to the potatoes, and mix them together. 

Cut up the vegetables, and heat the oil in a large, nonstick pan. 
Cook the garlic and the onion until translucent, then add in the meat and some s+p, and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off most of the fat, and add in the carrots and the squash.
Sprinkle the flour over everything, and mix it in. Add the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, rosemary, and chicken broth. Add in the frozen beans and then turn the heat to low, and simmer it until the sauce is thickened. 

Pour it into a deep dish pan (I used my dutch oven).
Spread the cauliflower-mashed potatoes over it, and sprinkle the cheese on top. 
Bake it at 400 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes, and then broil it on high until the top is bubbling and browned.
Let it sit for a minute, and then serve it up, piping hot. And there you have it. 
I have to start today's job of making treats for all the families I work for. Just call me Santa...And I need to go on a snow run. Which, I admit, I am not looking forward to. There it is. I cannot tell a lie.

But guess what. In 6 days (less for most of you) we will all be on Christmas Vacation. Four days off of work, and my darling nephew to play with. Hurrah!

1 comment:

  1. Hey we went to see the hobbit during the day, so we may have been watching it together, sort of!


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