Let’s work our way backwards, shall we?
6/17/2012: Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie…mostly
A “real” shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, not beef. Hence the name “shepherd’s pie.” Whatever. Sunday, I ventured forth to get some ground lamb. Because I did not think ahead to go to the farmer’s market the say before. Grump. Now I gotta go to Central Market. Ugh. I didn’t wanna go all the way to Central Market. Sprout’s! They should have ground lamb!
No problem! I have a big ass Kitchen Aid mixer and a meat grinding attachment! Now that I had transformed the lovely lamb shoulder chops into a mass of pink squidginess, I could then get to cooking! What does the recipe say? “Add onions and carrots and saute.” Why would I saute carrots? I did however, saute onions and–oh look!–5 medium sized mushrooms that need eating! Then I dumped in my lovely pink critter meat and browned it.
Next, “add flour, cook for one minute, add tomato paste–” Tomato paste? Sure, why the hell not! And hey, while I’m at it, I’ve got some cherry tomatoes from my garden, let’s slice and toss those in as well! They’ll cook down (no they won’t)! Simmer for a bit, add your additional veg (no corn here. it just looks wrong) and add to a casserole dish.
So, I’ve never made a proper shepherd’s (or cottage) pie. I’ve always browned some meat, added gravy from a packet, dumped in some frozen veg and topped with mashed potatoes either from instant or from the refrigerated section. There was none of this “make a gravy” or “simmer” stuff. This time, however, I whipped some red potatoes (russets suck) and added it to the top (yes, I still used frozen veg. Alton said I could!).
Now, I have no idea why the recipe calls for an egg yolk, but I put it in. Next time I won’t. Bake this puppy for 25 minutes and dinner is served.
Right. Bread. I found a no knead bread that only called for 2 hour sitting time instead of 12. Welp. This is bread. There’s nothing good or bad to say about it. It was flour, water, yeast, and salt. No milk (it would go bad), no oil/butter (why?), no sugar (guess the yeasties would eat it too fast?), and no character. It’s fine for dinner but not a sandwich bread. Of course, I think I did screw it up. It was supposed to be sturdy like a bread dough. I was goopy. “Using a serrated knife, cut off a piece of dough.” No. It was more like “Get a spoon.” Now I know how to fix it for next time.