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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BOOK/A TABLE - Shepherd's Pie

From page to plate...

My love of Barbara Pym is no secret. Mention of the British authoress has appeared here before, when I extolled her literary virtues and included a recipe for Venetian Pancakes from her cookbook.

I’ve made many other wonderful dishes as well from said cookbook, but I think the Shepherd’s Pie is my favorite. I’d always thought of Shepherd’s Pie as a heavy, wintry meal, but this wonderfully fragrant crowd-pleaser is so scrumptious, I would easily slip it into my picnic basket and take to any barbecue. Although the recipe calls for minced lamb, try ground beef instead!

Surely you will have better luck with your Shepherd’s Pie than Edwin does (or his wife!) in Pym’s touching novel, Quartet in Autumn: “Edwin had come home one evening some years ago to find his wife Phyllis unconscious in the kitchen, about to put a shepherd’s pie in the oven.”

Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from the recipe by Ms. Pym
(My comments in italics)

2 onions, chopped
Oil or drippings
1 LB minced lamb (or beef!)
1 carrot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mixed herbs to taste (1 tsp Herbs de Provence is good)
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup lamb stock
1 TB tomato puree (or paste)
Mashed potato (4 servings, if using instant)

Fry onions in drippings until soft. Add minced lamb and carrot and cook about 10 minutes. Add seasonings, herbs, and cinnamon, then stir in flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in stock and tomato puree and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer mixture to a shallow ovenproof dish, spread the mashed potato on top, roughing with a fork, and bake 25 minutes, or until heated through and lightly browned.

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