Monday, March 19, 2012

Taste the Rainbow

This St. Patrick’s Day, the hubby and I started celebrating early.  We had plans with some friends on Friday, so I made my shepherd’s pie which was inspired by a Rachael Ray recipe.  (I will point out, that aside from the lack of lamb, this is not a traditional recipe because it doesn’t contain colcannon.  I think Rachael still came up with a pretty amazing dish despite her lack of Irish lineage though.)  For our vegetarian friend, I steamed the carrots and peas and made twice baked potatoes – minus the bacon bits.
Here’s my version…

Shepherd’s Pie

*1 – 1 ½ lbs. ground beef (diet lean ground round)
*Approx. 1 cup baby carrots, chopped
* – ¾ can sweet peas
*1 pkg. McCormick Au Jus Gravy (and 1 cup water)
*¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
*2 lbs. brown (Russet) potatoes, peeled and cubed
*½ cup sour cream
*1 large egg yolk
*½ cup half and half
* ¼– ½ cup butter, melted
*Scallions (Green onions)
*Garlic powder to taste
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Paprika for garnish (optional)

*You will need a small pot, a large pot, a deep skillet and either a micro-cooker (i.e. Pampered Chef) or an additional small pot, as well as a large bowl and a 9x13” casserole dish
*Spray the casserole dish with cooking spray
*In the large pot, bring water to boil while you prepare the potatoes
*Boil potatoes in salted water for 10-12 mins. (or until tender)
*In the large bowl, combine sour cream, egg yolk, butter, half-and-half, and scallions (When potatoes are done, you will add them to the cream mixture and mash until almost completely smooth)
*Steam carrots for approx. 3 mins. in micro-cooker
*Spray the large skillet with cooking spray and add meat, cooking over med-high heat
*Brown and crumble meat for 3-4 mins., add salt and pepper to taste
*Add carrots and peas, cooking 5 mins.; stir frequently
*In the small pot, prepare Au Jus (gravy)
*Add gravy to meat mixture
*Transfer the contents of the skillet to the casserole dish
*Spread potato mixture evenly over the meat and vegetables
*Top with extra paprika for color
*Place casserole dish on top of a large cookie sheet and broil (6-8” from top of oven) uncovered on high (350-375°) for 25 mins. (or until potatoes are evenly golden brown)
*You may top with parsley instead of paprika, but this must be done after cooking or the broiling process will cause the parsley to brown

You should wind up with something that looks like this:
A great dessert to pair with this dish would be a Betty Crocker grasshopper fudge cake topped with mint chip chocolate chips and shamrock sprinkles.
We spent St. Patty’s Day at a local Irish pub that we affectionately call “Danny Boys”…

... and a new sports bar in town called Pitchers which has taken up residence in the building which until recently housed another favorite Irish pub, Castletown Geoghegan.

While we seemed to have the luck of the Irish on our side all week with temperatures in the 80s, we did experience a wicked downpour midday.  The rain made for some pretty – and very appropriate – rainbows though!
My only regret was not being able to wear the new McClaren's Pub t-shirt my hubby bought me for my birthday.  (I love that he thinks I’m a size small though!)
I suppose there’s nothing more to say except, “Erin go bragh!” 

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