Randy’s Shepherd’s Pie

I was home from work today with major lower back spasms.  Oh goodness, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  Can’t really move, nothing to do but take some meds and lay down all day.  Thank goodness for laptop computers, and Netflix.  Watched Julie and Julia and loved it!  So in honor of cooking, here’s my post on Shepherd’s Pie, which I made for K and I last Sunday night.

I do know how to cook, I promise you.  I just don’t really like to cook.  I’m very impatient (and usually hungry) and that doesn’t really mesh well with cooking.  But with our new batch of meat from 8 O’Clock Ranch stored in the freezer, I knew what I was going to make with the 1lb of ground lamb we had:  Shepherd’s Pie.

So, apparently it’s only REALLY Shepherd’s Pie if it’s made with lamb. If it’s made with ground beef, it’s known as Cottage Pie.  Just a little trivia brought to you by yours truly and Wikipedia. 🙂

I followed this recipe on the 8 O’Clock Ranch site: Randy’s Shepherd’s Pie.  Started making the mashed potatoes, something that’s pretty simple.  Salt in water, water to boiling, add your peeled potatoes (Red Chieftains, which we’re currently working through our second 10lb bag of)…

….drain your potatoes,  mash, add nearly 1/3 of a pound of homemade butter (!!!) and the leftover cream I had from making the butter last week, along with more salt and some pepper to taste…

…and I think it came out pretty good.  Of course, I guess it’s hard to ruin plain mashed potatoes right?

Then it was time to saute the lamb…yum…

Added chopped onion (THAT’S where I found my rotten onion in the bag we had JUST bought), garlic, carrots (that’s what the one BIG carrot we bought this week was for) and some sliced white mushrooms (the ONE piece of produce we didn’t get from the market).

They sell mushrooms at the market, and I do love them.  But they are $10-$20 PER POUND.  I can’t do it!  I would love to, and occasionally I might, but not often. Now that I think about it, I only needed 4oz., so I probably could have gotten them, but I think of the per pound price and it scares me away.

Then you’re supposed to put in a tablespoon of tomato paste.  I decided to use my one jar of tomato paste that I made last year.

I don’t know if anyone remembers, or was reading this blog at that time, but because of the tons o’ tomatoes that were coming in around that time, I decided to make some tomato paste and can it.  I started my tomato paste project with 5 pounds of tomatoes.

I ended up with ONE 4 ounce jar of tomato paste (green tomato paste, btw, since the majority of the tomatoes I used were Green Zebras).

Oh it was heartbreaking – all that work for 4oz?  So I was bound and determined to use it (even if only a tablespoon) for my mostly local shepherd’s pie.

I dramatically took it out of the pantry (aka the tiny hall closet that holds miscellaneous items).  I carried it to the kitchen and announced to K it was finally time to use it.  I unscrewed the band. And gasped in horror.

Ew ew ew!!! What is that?  Black mold?  Killer spoliation?  Or just some tomato paste that seeped out during the processing of the jar so many months ago!

I opened it up and smelled it. It definitely smelled like tomato paste.

Who knows?  Maybe it was fine inside the jar.  But I couldn’t use it. I didn’t want to take the chance of botulism or something else-ism all for the sake of eating my hard fought for tomato paste.  It got tossed and I used some Hunt’s tomato paste instead.  Man, it was the final kick in the gut. After all that time it took to make that one little jar, I didn’t even get to use it!

But on and on I went, making the flour slurry and adding it, putting in Worcestershire sauce and store-bought beef stock.  I swear to you (**shakes fist**) I will be making beef stock by scratch soon and hopefully canning it so I don’t have to do that again.

I added the rest of the ingredients as I was supposed to and it looked like this.  It tasted delicious.

When it was ready, I transferred it to two Corningware casserole dishes, because the one larger one I had was too big.  Topped it with my mashed potatoes and baked it for about 15 minutes.  The gravy came out bubbling on top, but who cares?



I spooned some out for me and K and enjoyed every single bite.  I really like lamb. It tastes a bit gamey to me, but I guess I like gamey.  Can’t confuse it for beef!

It took me 4 hours from start to finish to make this.  From the moment I started peeling the potatoes to the moment we took our first bites.  Now, maybe it was because it was a brand new recipe for me, but come on!! Who has time like this?  Certainly not me, no matter how good it was.  This is why I don’t cook.

But I’m definitely going to make this again. It was so so good.


2 Responses

  1. Recipes like that are delicious but I want someone else to cook it for me. Too much time. I need dinner in an hour or less. But I’m glad you enjoyed it and you have leftovers.

  2. Aww, bummer on the tomato paste, especially after working so hard on it. I did some canning this year, and I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to have it basically all for naught.

    Buuuut, everything else looks really good. And for some reason it makes me want corned beef & mashers tonight. Hmm.

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