Fiction-Food Café

June 28, 2018

Shepherd's Pie | Carry On

(Originally posted December 2017 for Fiction Kitchen Podcast Episode 34: Carry On.)
He shoves a casserole dish into my arms, then grabs some forks. “Milk?” he asks. “Coke?”

“Milk,” I say. I’m grinning, I can’t stop grinning. He puts the carton on top of the casserole, grabs some cloth napkins from the drawer, then heads back up to his room. It’s a struggle to keep up.

. . . .
I sit down next to him, and he takes the casserole dish from me and casts a quick, “You’re getting warmer!”—then opens the lid. It’s shepherd’s pie.

“Do you need to eat?” I ask. “Or do you just like it?”

“I need it,” he says, scooping up a bite, avoiding my eyes, “just not as much as other people do.”

“How do you know that you’re not immortal?”

He hands me a fork. “No more questions.”

We finish the shepherd’s pie, eating out of the bowl on Baz’s lap. He chews with his hand over his mouth. I try to remember whether I’ve ever seen him eat before.… I finish the milk. He doesn’t want any.

When we’re done, he sets the dishes outside his door, then starts a fire in the fireplace with his wand.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

          This whole book is fabulous (and filled with food) but this section of the story, chapters 61 and 62, are so lovely (I'm internally squee-ing right now. I think I might need to read the book again). ;)

Note: I tried to make this dish authentic and simple, but feel free to add more spices and such to suit your tastes (like, give shredded cheese a go in the potato mash!). :)

Basilton’s Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 Russet Potatoes, peeled & diced ~1/2″ pieces
2 tsp. Salt
1/4 Cup Half & Half
1/4 Cup Butter, sliced
Pepper to taste
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 Lrg. Carrot, peeled & diced
1 Onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs. Ground Lamb
2-3 Tbsp. Flour
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, minced
1 tsp. Fresh Sage, minced
1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1 Cup Stock (can be veal, beef, veggie, etc.)
1 Can Peas, drained

Put the potato cubes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover them, plus the salt, & then cover & bring to a boil. Uncover & reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes & return them to the pot.

In a small pot on medium low heat combine the half & half with the butter & heat until the butter melts. Add this mixture to the potatoes, adding pepper to taste & more salt if desired, & mash until smooth. Stir in the egg until fully incorporated.

Grease a deep pie dish or casserole dish & press half of the potato mixture into the bottom & up the sides. Set aside until needed.

In a large pan on medium high, heat the oil & add the garlic, onions, & carrots & sauté until just tender. Stir in the meat & cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle on the flour & toss to coat. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, & herbs, & cook for a couple more minutes, & then add in the broth. Bring to a boil & then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes so the juices can thicken.

Heat your oven to 400ºF. Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the dish with the potatoes. Layer the rest of the potato mixture on top of the meat, starting at the edges & working your way into the center. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is a little golden brown. Remove, cool a bit, & serve with 2 forks & a jug of milk!

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