Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cooking Shepherd's Pie for the masses or the family!

Childrens homes in Mexico are a place of both great blessing & great need. More often often than not they operate on little more than Faith & Hope. The opportunities to help & be of service at these homes can be endless for Expats right here in Northern Mexico. The Newcomer's Group here helps with food, clothing & educational needs. It is a great pleasure to help on Saturdays when the group provides a Saturday meal for the kids which we both prepare the food as well as actually serve it. Saturday meals give the house parents & over burdened workers a chance to rest & be served along side the kids. There is always enough for second helpings & of course desert is a must. This past Saturday we served Shepherd's Pie, Salad, Bread & homemade Brownies. The smiles were thanks enough even if it was hard not to have a lump in the throat when the blessing was said. Last Friday several of us met in my friend Tresa's kitchen to mix, stir, chop & blend the many Shepherd's Pies we served the following day. Feeding 100 isn't so hard when friends are doing the work. Not only was it satisfying but the food tasted great & interested me in cooking a repeat version for less than my own kitchen. I've scaled it down but kept the same seasons & flavors alive in my version of the Tresa Amrani's Shepherd Pie. *I have to say she did surprise me by telling me how many recipes of meals for crowds are offered online.

Cottage Pie, also known as Shepherd's Pie, refers to a meat pie with a crust made from mashed potato. Cottage was a term referring to modest working class dwelling.

The term Cottage Pie or Pye is known to have been used as early as 1791, when potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for common people. Although the potato was introduced to Europe in 1520 by the Spanish from the New World it wasn't mainstream for several hundred years. Shepherd's Pie can be made with endless meat & vegetable varieties & even with only vegetables. In the 1990's my children were more than likely worn out on my vegetarian version of Shepherd's Pie...

Tresa's Shepherd Pie
4 large potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 med. onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 pound ground chicken
2 large carrot, shredded
8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Tabasco
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chicken or beef bouillon powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack & or cheddar cheese
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, drain.
Mash potatoes with butter or margarine and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Add as little or more milk to get the potatoes rather soupy since they dry slightly as they cook on top of the Shepherd Pie.
Saute onion & bell pepper in olive oil until soft. Stir in ground chicken, carrot, mushrooms, parsley, Worcestershire sauce,Tabasco, garlic, and chicken bouillon. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until meat is broken up and cooked through. Drain. Stir in flour.
Transfer meat mixture to a casserole dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle cheese over meat mixture. Spread potatoes over meat, don't pack potatoes too hard, keep fluffy.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown on top.


Nancy said...

Love the sepia photos! Miss you!

Dee said...

Hope to see you before too long Chica!!

Reeni♥ said...

How sweet you are for doing this! How lucky they are that they get to eat your awesome cooking!!! You rock!

Tangled Noodle said...

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday! Shepherd's pie will put a smile on anyone's face, especially my own as I read this.

ClaudiaH said...

Hooray for the Newcomers' Group! I hope you're finding some good times and friends there.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! Shepherd's pies look delicious!

Genie said...

Oh what a happy crowd you must have had! Good work!

Hornsfan said...

I love the photos Mom - they are great! The Shepherd's Pie is tasty looking too...

Chef E said...

what a great blog Dee...I am trying to make a non-starch version for my own 'lifestyle' change!

Love the photos too!

*Kimmie* said...

Sooo cool that you do that on Saturdays!

Kate said...

What a great group to participate with! Those kids are so adorable, the reward for your hard work must be those smiles!

Thanks for your recipe. Shepherd's Pie is a favourite in my family and it's alway fun to see and tryout other people's recipes. I like that yours always provides a bit of kick! : )