There’s just something about slow cooked stews…and mashed potatoes. Rich, heady flavors all commingling under cover in the pot… getting to know each other… getting all cozy… trading secrets… At least that’s how I like to think of it.
It’s the regular covert operations of food.
Digging around in the freezer this morning I came across a forgotten package of Lamb Merguez sausages from Marx Foods. Actually, they weren’t forgotten… they were buried. While I adore lamb, and nothing beats a good sausage… I couldn’t get the idea out of my head of those cheap hot dogs they used to sell when I was a kid that were 50% mutton . It was like eating a wet sheep…. in a bun.
So I wedged them at the bottom of the freezer basket hoping they would evaporate… funny, they didn’t.
I decided to use them in this week’s Simple Dinner Sunday – Shepherd’s Pie.
First and foremost, this can’t exactly be called a true shepherd’s pie. Traditional pies are made from fresh lamb, not sausage, and they don’t use pork (which I am).. But – all in all, switch out fresh lamb for the sausage and pork… and you’ll get the real thing. I will say though, the spiciness of the Merguez sausages do add a killer note to the traditional flavors. I’ll probably use them again the next time I make it.
Serves 6 to 8
1 Pound of Marx Foods Lamb Merguez Sausage (or Lamb) – Cubed
1 Pound of Cooked Pork – Diced (you can use raw pork as well, I just happened to have a pork roast cooked off from earlier in the week)
2 Stalks Celery with a handful of the darker green leaves – Diced
1 Large Carrot – Peeled and Diced
1 Cup of Onion – Diced
4 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes – Diced
2 Cups Beef Stock
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Oil
1/4 Cup Parsley – Chopped
1 Medium Sauce Pan
1 2 Quart Casserole Dish
Food Mill – or Ricer
A Bowl for Mixing
- Dice up all the vegetables and meat.
- With a saucepan on medium, Add the oil, onions, celery, & carrots and cook until just sweated
- Transfer them to the casserole dish
- Layer the Lamb Sausage (or Lamb) on top
- Cover the lamb with the diced pork and parsley
- Mix the corn starch slurry with the stock and pour over the meat and veg in the casserole dish
- Bake the filling uncovered for 2 hours at 325
- Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain and run through the food mill
- Stir in the butter, cover and set aside
When the 2 hours are up:
- Drain off the liquid from the filling and reserve
- Keeping 2 tablespoons of the fat from the braising liquid, lift off the rest of the grease and dispose
- Add the 2 tablespoons of flour to the retained fat and stir to make a slurry
- Pour 1/2 of the slurry over the filling and stir to combine
- Add the remainder to the retained liquid and heat over medium heat (Save this for gravy with the pie)
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling, and smooth the surface out with a spoon
- With a fork, drag lines across and down over the mashed potatoes in a basket weave pattern
- Place the pie back in the over at 400 and bake for 30 minutes
- Serve with the thickened gravy and a salad.