As some of you may know, March contains a very special day to Math nerds. I am not a Math nerd, but I love pies, and that’s why I celebrate Pi Day (3.14). I first learned about Pi Day in high school in my geometry class, and I have proceeded to try and celebrate every year by eating pie, or pies, on Pi Day. Last year I was living with three other women on Pi Day, and we all made pies for one another. This year I am living with two other women who are both fabulous and will reap the benefits when I make a vegetarian pie… but they aren’t particularly fond of making pies, so I will go it alone!

Looks kind of like a lasagna... huh.

Instead of deciding which kind of pie I should make on Pi Day I have decided to make 14 pies in the 3rd month of this year. I will post a pie every other day to the best of my ability (as I am a student on a budget with lots of homework to do). If you have any pie recipes that you want me to try, or any particular ingredients you want me to incorporate, let me know. I’ll say, at the end of each post, something about the next pie I’m making…. but for now, numero uno!

Shepherd’s Pie with Garlic-Kale Mash

This recipe is fully inspired by Delicious Magazine’s recipe in their February issue, although I have altered it a bit to fit my pantry and my taste preferences. If you’d prefer to use their recipe, cook away!

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 Lb. Ground beef, lamb or veal (or turkey if you’re eating light)

1 14.5 oz Can diced tomatoes (unsalted, with no additional ingredients)

1 6 oz. Can tomato paste

1 Teaspoon Dried herbs de Provence (or see my herb mix below)

Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Handful of baby carrots, sliced into thin coins

1 Zucchini, sliced into thin coins

1 Cup frozen peas (optional)

2 Lb. Potatoes, any will do, I used a mix of reds (which I received in my farm box earlier this week) and a couple of russets, chopped into large pieces (and peeled if russets, most other should be fine with the peel)

2-4 Garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

Bunch of kale or spinach, I used Red Russian Kale which was also in my farm box and several leaves of spinach… again from my farm box), cut into ribbons, stems removed

2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)

Dash of Milk (optional… I didn’t use any)

Salt and Pepper

Alyssa’s Fake Herbs de Provence

Fennel Seeds (Just a few)

Dried Rosemary (1/2 sprigs worth)

Dried Whole Basil (A few leaves)

Dried Thyme (A pinch)

Dried Lavender (A tiny pinch)

Blend all ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. If you have dried sage, add it, I had fresh sage so I just minced it separately and then added it in at the same time as the other herbs.

Preheat the oven to 400º F. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until golden, then add the meat and brown, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste (10 minutes or so). Pour the tomatoes, carrots, spices and herbs in the pan and add 400 ml or 1 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Just before it is done, add the can of tomato paste and the zucchini. Turn off the heat and add the peas, then transfer to a baking pan in an even layer. Set aside.

Put the potatoes and garlic in a good-sized pot with quite a bit of salt and some cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender enough to mash. Check the garlic and the potatoes as you will be mashing both. When done, remove potatoes and garlic with a slotted spoon. Leave pot on burner but turn off the heat and add the kale and/or spinach (you know you can also use chard if you like) and wilt for 3-5 minutes, then drain extremely well, pressing out as much liquid as possible.

With a masher, ricer, or whisk, mash the potatoes and the garlic (I used an immersion blender, but didn’t fully whip the potatoes). Add the butter and milk, salt and pepper, then mix in the greens. Spread the potatoes over the meat mixture in the pan. I did this with my fingers after everything had cooled a bit, it was easiest that way.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Serve in bowls, as it’s a bit liquid-y. It’s hard to find something to go well with shepherd’s pie, so if you’re serving it at a dinner you may want to consider serving a salad before it or alongside it, or have a refreshing fruit-based dessert afterwards.

I haven’t tasted it yet as it just came out of the oven and I’m going out tonight, but tomorrow it will make a fantastic lunch. I’m sure the flavors will be stronger after it sits overnight, and I cannot wait to enjoy it!

I’m going to fake my way through a Chicken Pot Pie on Sunday!

Love and Happy Spatulas,

Alyssa

Oh alright… I couldn’t help myself… here’s the first bite missing:

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