On March 17, Fiesta's kitchens become as verdant as hills of
clover and as lively as wee lads and lasses. Even our aprons take
on a shade of shamrocks.
Hum a few bars of "Danny Boy" and have a cuppa or a pint: We're
celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irish comfort food -- perfect
for warding off the final chills of winter and greeting the first
green of spring.
Corned beef & cabbage are readily a top-of-mind choice for
St. Pat's, so our cooks explored additional warm, hearty foods from
the Emerald Isle. One Dubliner-turned-Texan suggested that we try
the humble and delicious Shepherd's Pie.
The result was a casserole-like dish that delighted us with
purely Irish charm. We hope you enjoy it as well.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh ("Happy St. Patrick's Day
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
1 lb., ground beef or lamb
6 cups, mashed potatoes
(yes, you may use instant potatoes to save time; we won't tell!)
2 cups, mixture of diced carrots and peas
(again, feel free to use frozen peas & carrots to save time)
l large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons, flour
2 tablespoons, melted butter
2 tablespoons, Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons, tomato paste
1 cup, beef stock
½ cup, red wine or Guinness® stout
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme)
salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use half of the melted butter
(about a tablespoon) to sauté the diced onions 'til they're soft,
then add thyme and the beef/lamb; brown the meat mixture. Skim off
the fat and add the peas & carrots.
Gradually stir in the flour, and then add the Worcestershire
sauce, tomato paste and wine/Guinness®. Stir and then simmer,
uncovered, for a few minutes to allow some of the liquid to
evaporate. Add the beef stock and continue to simmer, uncovered,
for another minute or two. (The mixture should have the consistency
of a minced stew.) Use salt and/or pepper to taste.
Place the mixture in a lightly-greased 9x13 baking dish. Layer
the mashed potatoes on top, and brush them with the other half of
the melted butter. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes (or until
the potatoes start to brown just a bit). Ideally, let the dish rest
for about 10 minutes before serving, but feel free to dig in if you
can't wait that long.