I don’t post a lot of entrees, but I recently tried a savory pie from a cookbook that has become an unexpected favorite. It’s called Lost Shepherd’s Pie and it’s from The Waitress Pie Book.
Based on the indie film turned musical, it’s written from the point of view of of Jenna Hunterson, the pregnant-and-trapped-in-a bad-marriage-waitress who creates pies inspired by people and events in her life. The author is listed as Jenna Hunterson, but since she’s a fictional character I had to find out who the real author was. Turns out it’s Sheri Castle, a recipe writing pro whose work appears in many top food publications. The recipes in this book just flow so nicely, almost like they do in the movie, which I watched shortly after discovering the book. I may see the musical someday, but I liked Kerri Russell as Jenna and am not sure I could imagine the waitress as anyone else.
Lost Shepherd's Pie
- 1 1/4 pounds russett potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup warm milk
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
Lamb or Beef Filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup beef stock
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 tablespoon of A-1 optional
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or a sprinkling of dried thyme
- black pepper
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes), then drain well. Let sit for 5 minutes so that all steam escapes, then mash with a potato masher or put through a rice mill. Mix with the cream cheese, yolk, butter, warm milk and cheese to make cheddar mashed potatoes. Put them all in a large piping bag or just set aside until ready to use.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the ground lamb and saute until brown, then drain it and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the same skillet, then saute the onions until soft and tender.
- Add the garlic and cooked lamb and raise heat if needed until sizzling. Add the tomato paste and stir well, then reduce heat again and add the flour, stirring to coat the meat. Pour in the wine and Worcestershire sauce and stir everything up from the bottom of the pan, then gradually add the beef stock. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add vegetables and cook until they are thawed and warm, then add the A-1 (I forgot it!) and pepper to taste. At this point you can adjust the seasonings to taste if you are not happy with the level of saltiness. Sprinkle in some thyme.
- Spoon this mixture into a greased 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie dish.
- Pipe or spread the mashed potatoes over the top.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.. Set the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips!) and bake at 400 for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are browned and everything is hot and bubbly.