It’s Been A Very Long Time, So I’ll Start with Comfort Food

I haven’t published anything in quite awhile. When you’re a teacher, you give up a great deal of personal freedom. People Google you, and if they don’t like what they find it can make an entire school year or even your entire employment experience unliveable.  Many of my teacher friends use only their first and middle names on their social media. But I digress…

I have been itching to find myself again and start writing without fear of retribution. That’s a pretty tall order in today’s world, so I’ll start with a great recipe.

The flavor of this shepherd’s pie is addictive. My husband typically has thirds and I finish the last of it for breakfast the next day.  This is a great dish if you need to prepare comfort food. You can add more veggies if you prefer. They are not needed for flavor, but more ingredients will make it go farther. Peas, green beans, and corn are some common add-ins. This recipe is completely gluten free, and nobody will ever know if you don’t tell them.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Shepherds Pie Recipe

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef or lamb (I use 90% lean beef and love it. Lamb is the traditional Irish recipe. You could also do 1/2 lb of each)
1 tbsp oil or butter (use to sauté carrots, onion, and garlic)
2 to 3 large carrots , diced
1 medium onion , chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Gluten Free Worcestershire sauce (most are GF; Aldi brand and L&P are safe options)
2 cups gluten free beef stock
4 medium potatoes , peeled and cut into large chunks (if you want to cut down the workload, use 1 large or 2 regular size packages of Idahoan instead. The Buttery Homestyle turned out great!!)
2 tbsp butter (not needed if you use the Idahoan potatoes)
2 tbsp GF flour (optional for thickening if needed)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1 Tablespoon Marjoram
salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon
Instructions
Heat one tablespoon of oil or butter in a pan with the garlic, onion and carrots. Gently sauté for 3 – 4 minutes.
Add the lamb or beef and brown over a medium heat just until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Spoon off excess fat if necessary but be conservative; there is a lot of flavor in the pan liquid that you don’t want to drain away.
While the meat is browning with garlic, onion and carrot, boil the peeled potatoes in slightly salted water for 10-15 minutes until soft, but not soggy. Drain, then mash together with the remaining butter. You want to mashed potatoes to be thick.
Add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to meat mixture and mix well. Add the beef stock, bring to a bubbly simmer, then cover pan and cook for about 20 minutes on low heat.
After about 20 minutes uncover the pan and continue to cook on low heat for about 15 to 20 more minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

After reducing the cooking liquid, if you think it’s too runny you can add some GF flour to thicken.  I have made this recipe a number of times and have never added a thickener.  It has never been runny. The key is to cook the liquid down slowly over a very low heat. Add a few minutes to that process if needed.

Put the cooked meat mixture into an ovenproof dish. Cover with a thick layer of the mashed potatoes spread out with a fork or rubber spatula. During the last 5 minutes of bake time you can add shredded cheese on top if you like.

Place dish on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins until the gravy is starting to bubble out around the edges. Remove from oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Eat well on your journey
LW