Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not Commander Shepherd's Pie

Happy Pi Day!
Hey, I still have a half hour before the day is officially over, give me a break! That's what I get for not planning ahead.
Anyway, I'd love to post about a sweet pie instead of a savory one, like I did last year with Yoder’s Peanut Butter Cream Pie. But I've been meaning to post this for a long time now, and what better day than today!?
This isn't a weekly meal for us. It usually gets made when I'm bored of the regular menu and I have all the ingredients laying around. You know that situation. It's like the cooking equivalent to the planets and stars aligning. Don't get me wrong, this would make an awesome weekly Sunday dinner, but I just never plan for it.
I never even used to make Shepherd’s Pie. The first time I ever made it was after I watched Nadia G make it on Bitchin’ Kitchen. Unfortunately, I never had all the ingredients at the same time for her version, but I have to thank her and her Shepherd's Pie recipe for giving me the inspiration to make mine!
And if you've never seen Bitchin' Kitchen on the Cooking Channel: Seriously?! It's the best cooking show you can watch. You'll wonder what you've been doing with your life!
Now, I don't usually show my nerdy side as much as I should, but I've posted a Shepherd's Pie recipe on a blog before.
A video game blog.
Scratching your head? Wondering what a Shepherd’s Pie has to do with gaming?
Well, the good folks over at EZ-Mode Unlocked let me post on their blog when I have something to talk about in the gaming world. And at the time, Mass Effect 3 – the third installment of one of my favorite franchises – was released the day before the post was published. In case you don’t know, Mass Effect puts you in control of Commander Shepard. So the post paid homage to the game by being a borderline fanfic about a news report covering Commander Shepard’s favorite food. I had a lot of fun writing it, and if you like Mass Effect*, I urge you to check it out so you can know all about Commander Shepard’s Pie.
Shepherd’s Pie
1 pound ~ Ground Beef
1 ½ cups ~ Onion, diced
1 tablespoon ~ Garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ~ Salt
1 teaspoon ~ Pepper
1 teaspoon ~ Chili Powder
1 teaspoon ~ Garlic Powder
1 cup ~ Sweet Peas
To Top ~ Shredded Cheese & Breadcrumbs
  • While this isn’t exactly Commander Shepard’s Pie, I’m sure he’ll like this one all the same.
  • This has 3 components to it: The meat bottom, the creamed corn center and the mashed potato top. This is easier if you do the mashed potatoes and creamed corn ahead of time. I did mine a couple of hours earlier and just reheated when it was time to put it together (easier to work with when it’s heated). It also makes it easier with cleanup after you’re in your food coma.
  • If you don’t have the time, no biggie. You can have all 3 going at the same time and be alright.
  • I’m using a 9 ½ round pie dish for this. So use whatever you have around that size.
  • If you go bigger than 9 inch pans, I would recommend using at least 1 ½ or maybe even 2 pounds of ground beef. 1 pound works fine now, but any bigger and you’ll be spreading it out too thin.
  • If you have diced carrots, feel free to throw them in there with the onions.
Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie as it’s otherwise known as, has always been one of those thrown-together meals. Even from early cookbooks it was something that you made in order to use up leftovers like various roasted meats for example. Don’t let that tradition stop now. If you’ve got something that you think may go good in there, don’t be scared. Carrots, Bacon, Lamb, Sausage, Red Wine, Beef Stock.... It’s hard to not come out a winner every time.
With that said, let’s get our 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816
406282089986280348253421170679... on:
  • Grab your favorite pan and heat up some oil. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they start getting a little color. When they’re ready, add the chopped garlic and after about a minute, the ground beef. Cook the beef until there is no more pink. You’ll probably have to drain it a few times with all the water that’s going to be cooked out of it. After you drain it the first time, add all the spices and seasoning.
  • Next, the peas. I used frozen peas so I ran them under some water so they could defrost before I put them in. So if you’re using the same type, once defrosted, add the peas to the beef and incorporate them well.
  • From there, it’s all downhill. Take whatever dish or pan you’re using, and give it a coat of cooking spray just in case. Add the beef to the pan and even it out.
  • Then add the creamed corn on top of it and even it out as well.
  • Next, plop a few mountains of mashed potatoes on top and smoosh them around.
  • Magically, you should have something that looks just like a pie! Throw some shredded cheese on top and then some breadcrumbs on top of that and it’s ready to go in the oven for about 15 minutes until it’s nice and bubbly.
  • When you see it bubbling, turn on the broiler and let it sit in there for 2 or 3 more minutes. But watch it! The broiler is like your best friend in high school that you enjoyed hanging out with but always wound up taking your girlfriends from you.
Watch it...
And that's it! Finally, Shepherd's Pie is on here! And on Pi Day! That's like, coming full circle!
...There's a Pi joke in there somewhere, but I'm too lazy right now.
*If you like Mass Effect, then you like to game. And if you like to game, you need to get over to the EZ-Mode Unlocked forum and sign up! A lot of good folks over there. And they just celebrated their podcast's 4 year anniversary! So congrats to them!

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