Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Shepherd's Pie.

Italian-style, with the fragrance of the four Italian essentials, onion, carrot, celery and garlic.

Sweat onions and garlic in oil. Do not burn. Add carrots and celery, diced as finely as you can be bothered doing (I couldn't be bothered last night so the pieces were larger than they should have been!) stirring around and adding salt and cracked pepper.

Sweat them for a couple minutes then remove them to another dish. Now add your minced beef or lamb (shepherd's pie is by definition lamb but since you're not a shepherd the meat your pie comprises doesn't have to be lamb). Brown it well, then add the vegetables along with a can of diced tomatoes and a generous slosh of white wine, maybe a cupful or so.

Let it simmer away while you prepare your potatoes by cooking, draining and mashing them well with whatever you fancy - milk, butter, olive oil (I like potatoes with olive oil whipped until they are creamy, seductively, unctuously smooth like velvet!), parmesan cheese, whatever.

When the mince has reduced a little (there's no rule here, you can make it as 'wet' or as firm as you like) place it in a baking dish, top it with the mash, then sprinkle a little paprika or maybe some gremolata on top. Bake until golden brown and enjoy with some spinach or rabe cooked with a dash of cream and black pepper on the side.

And a glass of smooth, spicy, seductive red.

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