I took a bit of a break from my blog. Too long, methinks. Started a new job, the holidays hit and then we moved. All excuses, really. Amidst all of these changes I’ve just been uninspired and cooking a hell of a lot less.
I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things and post more frequently. Which would require cooking more frequently. No promises, though … I went from a job with a lot of free time (company was closing down) to a stressful job that inspires me to drink half a bottle of wine in lieu of taking a yoga class. Yes, that would be its own issue.
I have a lot to work on, but I’ll get there. We’re slowly settling into the new house and while I am now cooking on an electric stove (I know … the horror!!), I’ve had a couple of weeks to get used to it and it’s not as awful as I thought it would be. Water boils a lot more quickly. Not sure I have anything else positive to say at the moment so we’ll just leave it at that.
So! Food. What did I finally make that was blog-worthy?
Curried Shepherd’s Pie.
I’ve been on a lamb kick lately (at restaurants, no doubt) and noticed that the Randall’s in Midtown has packages of ground lamb from Australia. It’s been a cold fucking winter in Houston so I was craving some nice warm, comfort food and started looking online for ways to use the ground lamb. I first considered making Keema Matar (Indian ground lamb with peas & tomatoes), but then I came across this Epicurious recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.
I couldn’t leave well enough alone, though. I still wanted some curry! So I played around with spices and created my own Curried Shepherd’s Pie.
The smells emanating from my oven were incredible, but the first bite made me swoon. I honestly let the food sit in my mouth and coat my taste buds for a moment. I closed my eyes and just felt so damn proud of myself. The blend of spices was spot on and I’m usually my own worst critic.
So here is the recipe, but it comes with a warning: You will wake up the next day to a house that smells like curry. My solution? Reheat the leftovers and belly dance through the heady aromas that waft through your house.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
5 russet potatoes (cut into small chunks)
3 tablespoons butter
Milk (I used about 1/3 cup and the rest of the carton will sit in my refrigerator until it goes bad)
1 head roasted garlic (cut the end to expose the cloves, place in foil, drizzle with olive oil & salt, seal foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes).
Put potatoes into a saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil and simmer, 15-20 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes and mash with a fork (unless you know where your masher is). Add the butter, roasted garlic (I used 8 cloves of roasted garlic because I didn’t want the garlic to overpower the curried meat, but feel free to add the whole head), milk and salt. Mash/mix/whatever the hell you want to call it until desired taste/consistency is reached.
Curried Meat Mixture
1 tablespoon peanut, vegetable or corn oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic gloves, minced
2 serranos, diced (seeds and all!)
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound ground lamb
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (or any other rich stock you feel like using)
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onion until soft, approximately five minutes. Add the garlic and serranos and stir for one minute, then add the curry powder, coriander and cumin, stirring until a paste forms.
Add the ground lamb to the skillet and brown, breaking up the lumps. Add the tomato paste and beef broth, simmer until thickened, approximately ten minutes. Stir in the peas and carrots until heated through.
Bringing it Together
Preheat the oven to 375.
Pour the meat mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish and smooth an even layer of potatoes over the top.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes and broil a few minutes at the end to brown the top, if desired (I did!).