It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. I just saw on the news this morning that Chicago’s annual South Side Irish parade is today. This is a big deal, since the parade has been cancelled for several years due to misbehaving Irish Americans using the parade as an excuse to drink themselves blind and urinate on homeowners lawns. Now that says, “Welcome to Chicago and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”
I have a bit of Irish in my ethnic make up. Hey, my name is Eileen after all. You’ve all heard that great Irish band Dexie’s Midnight Runners singing Come on Eileen, haven’t you? I was so excited when that song first came out. Then I realized it was about a guy begging his girl Eileen to go all the way. Nice.
I’ve been thinking about Ireland a lot lately. A friend of mine, Joe, is there now. He has posted pictures of his trip on Facebook. It is absolutely beautiful. Everyone I know who has been there says it is gorgeous and that the people are wonderful. I want to go. In addition, they make a damn fine pint of beer. Oh, and their whiskey isn’t bad either.
So, I decided to make a staple of Irish cuisine today – Shepherd’s Pie. I’m sure there are a million recipes out there for this dish. To me it’s about meat and potatoes, with whatever yummy veggie is in the fridge. So, here is my take on it. Enjoy it with a nice pint of Guinness. Slainte!
- 2-1/4 pounds ground chuck (you want a lean ground beef for this)
- 1 TBSP canola oil
- 1/2 of a large Spanish onion, rough chop
- 1 cup carrots, chopped fine (I use baby carrots)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 6 oz. Irish Stout (I use The Dude’s fine Irish Stout)
- 1 TBSP flour mixed in 3 TBSP warm water (optional)
- Salt & Pepper
- 4-5 cups (approximate) of your favorite mashed potatoes
In a large skillet, sweat the onions in 1 TBSP canola oil. Once they are soft and translucent (not brown) add the ground chuck and saute until browned. Add the carrots and the stout. Cook until the liquid begins to evaporate. If you want to thicken the sauce just a bit, add the flour and warm water. You don’t really want a sauce for the mixture, just a coating. Add the peas and remove from heat. Transfer to a covered casserole dish.
Top the meat mixture with the potatoes.
Bake covered until heated through and the potatoes begin to bubble and brown, typically 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
NOTE: You can also use ground lamb (yum!) or a mixture of lamb and beef. Enjoy!