Riff on Shepherd’s Pie

Gathering ingredients and then searching for recipe ideas is an old hobby that seems to have reared it’s head once again, seems like the whole summer has been using up bits of foodstuffs from the fridge and pantry creating some awesome dishes and some edible, but not so blog-worthy meals!

Here’s a winner with no real recipe just a flow of techniques, I guess you could also title it: Not your Momma’s Shepherd’s Pie!  I started by purchasing pork sausage, broccoli crowns and red potatoes.  No recipe in mind just three things that called to me while shopping quickly @Trader Joe’s one day last week.

So a day or two later I’m looking for inspiration and looked for recipes using these three ingredients, craving a comfort food type dish, casserole, stew, saute or something combining everything.  After seeing a few combining broccoli and mashed potatoes–sometimes the broccoli was pureed, sometimes left chunky, I decided I wanted mashed potatoes.  So then I started thinking how to combine sausage and broccoli.  Then a recipe with cheese sauce appeared, still not just exactly what I was feeling, since there was no plan in advance the cheese drawer was ripe with bits and pieces of cheese, not a lot of any one particular kind.

Then a thought that would combine it all: Shepherd’s Pie.

So here we go:  took the sausage out of the casings, three links was sufficient.  Sauteed with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, dash dried chilis, a pinch of dried Italian herb blend.  When sufficiently browned added small amount of chopped yellow squash and tablespoon of tomato paste.  When really good and browned deglazed with vermouth, added a teaspoon or so of instant flour, one chopped field tomato and a cup of chicken broth.  Simmered this until lightly thickened then added blanched broccoli flowerts.  (Next time I won’t blanch the broccoli!)

A colorful version of a Classic!

Meanwhile I peeled the red skin potatoes and boiled them until softened, mashed them with two tablespoons of cream cheese in place of the butter and added 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk.  They also received a sprinkling of Fines Herbs.

Set the sausage/veggie mixture into the casserole, covered with a slice of swiss cheese cut into small pieces, topped with mashed potatoes and dotted with another slice of swiss cheese.

Cream Cheese/Sour Cream Mash--can you say RICH!

Popped this into the oven for 35 minutes and finished under the broiler for some browning.

Fork Please!

A very, very rich and satisfying dish! The mashed potato crust was just the right combination of cheesiness and sour tang! These could be a great side dish to simple roasted beef!  Note to self: next time smaller portions and serve with a salad!   We devoured this, it was soooo good, guess we were “saladed” out and wanted something really homey.

Seems like it’s been a necessity lately to slip in a few old standby dishes in between all the delicious fresh farm-stand salads, frittatas, tians, gratins, grilled chicken, bbq’s etc.  Here’s a photo of stuffed peppers I threw together with leftover rice pilaf, corn, edamame, red onion, ricotta salata and a ketchup/soy glaze!

Stuffed Peppers


There was also the need to use a leftover roasted pork tenderloin and I was totally bored by shredding for quick bbq sandwiches, sliced and sauced or slivered into a salad!  So I tossed it into the Cuisinart with a few slices of bacon and ground it up.  Mixed with herbs, bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup and made Pork & Bacon Meatballs!  Tossed into my homemade tomato sauce and served over pasta. Excellent smoky flavor and so satisfying that I was able to reinvent the meatball one more time!  Made two dozen meatballs so I froze 3/4 of them! Also used some for Meatball Parm Subs last night for quick meal, served with crudites and roasted red pepper hummus. Made life easy since we spent the day in the City @the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit!  So, Nana, the anti-leftover Queen, now agrees that leftovers can be re-purposed to new heights as she mopped up the last of the sauce on her plate!


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1 Response to Riff on Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Yes, the chef has done it again. I don’t like leftovers and have never made a secret about, I have been converted. I wish I had the ability to just look in the refrigerator and come up with an amazing dish. It has been a wonderful ride these last few weeks with chef Jim’s imagination. Wonder what the fall will bring.


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