Sunday, March 17, 2013

Delia's shepherd's pie with cheesy leeks

I've made this a few times and we love it every time. It's a lovely, stick-to-your ribs supper and can be made in stages through the day or altogether, which is useful in a recipe. This time I didn't have the called for turnip or rutabaga (Canadian for swede) but used mushrooms and a red bell pepper instead.

Delia's shepherd's pie with cheesy leeks (adapted slightly from Delia on line)
1 lb ground lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
a handful of mushrooms, chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
275 mL vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 oz sharp cheddar, grated
2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut into half moon slices
2 lbs potatoes
1 tbsp butter
a couple of spoonfuls of greek yogurt, plain
salt and pepper

Gently heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onions and fry for about 5 minutes until slightly brown. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes. Move the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the lamb, cooking it until it is all browned, separating it with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and mix in with the vegetables. Add the stock and the tomato paste and mix into the mixture. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and let simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and let them steam for about 5 minutes. Mash the potatoes with the butter and yogurt, and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the meat into a baking dish and smooth it out into an even layer. Spread the potatoes over the meat evenly. Sprinkle the leeks over the top as evenly as you can and then top with the grated cheese.

Bake at 400 deg F for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are slightly browned.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

slow cooker pulled pork

How I came to cook this is a bit of a tale. I had invited some friends for supper but they had to cancel and the pork butt I bought to make this was sitting in the fridge. It seemed too fancy to cook that recipe for just us, and I remembered SBS talking about this recipe on one of her Another Mother Runner podcasts so I looked up the recipe and away I went. First thing is that this is easy. Second, your kitchen will smell divine while this cooks away. And it makes lots. My pork was twice the size that the recipe called for so I doubled everything and still have packets of meat left in my freezer for those nights when dinner needs to be quick. We've had the leftovers twice in pulled pork tacos but the first night, I served it as per the recipe with our version of spicy broccoli slaw.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (from Real Simple)
1 1/2  medium yellow onions, chopped
1/2 c tomato paste
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
3 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 6 pieces

In a large slow cooker, mix together the yellow onion, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the pork and turn to coat. Cover and cook until the pork is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours. Using 2 forks, shred the pork and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve the pork and onions on toast with broccoli slaw.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

eggplant for dinner

I was inspired by evening reading of the lovely Jerusalem to toss a couple of eggplants in my grocery cart during my last food shop. I had grandiose ideas of making a lovely burnt eggplant something, but when push came to shove, I ended up going with something more familiar to me. A tomato less moussaka inspired cassserole. Again. But this version was delicious.

I cut the eggplant lengthwise and roasted them in the oven. The potatoes were also roasted. The zucchini didn't fit on the roasting trays as they were full of eggplant and potato slices so I decided to cook them with the ground lamb and it worked well. I hemmed and hawed quite a bit over the sauce due to my husband's recent stomach issues and in the end went with a regular white sauce beefed up with some feta and parmesan. Melded together in a casserole dish and broiled in the oven, it turned out so delicious, we tussled over who got to have the leftovers for lunch.

Lamb and Eggplant Casserole (inspired by moussaka)
2 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise (1/2" slices)
6 medium potatoes, sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced into half moons
grated fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
350 ml milk
40 g feta, crumbled
30 g grated parmesan plus extra for topping

Roast the eggplant and potato on oiled baking sheets in single layers, in a hot 425 deg F oven until browned.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and ground lamb until the onions are tender. Add in the zucchini and cook until the lamb is browned, the onions are cooked and the zucchini are starting to brown.

In another saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and then whisk in the milk. Stir until smooth and let cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add in the cheeses and stir until well mixed.

In a 9x13 casserole dish, layer the eggplant slices over the bottom of the dish. Evenly layer the meat/zucchini mixture over the top. Layer the potato slices evenly over the meat. Pour the sauce over the top as evenly as possible. Top with grated parmesan. Bake in an oven, on the middle shelf, where the broiler has been turned on. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the top is browned and serve.