Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
Winter. One of my favorite seasons. Well, all of the seasons are my favorites, but for different reasons, of course. Winter is slower. The fire in the woodstove is good company and warms the house for both me and my four-legged family. Days are shorter. Nights longer. I put up sparkly white lights to brighten them up. I read more, make soup and casseroles, bake cornbread, drink ginger tea with lemon and honey, and coffee laced with Irish cream.
Right before the holiday, I complete the next deadline for book three. I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when I push the send button. It heads to my publisher’s court. This time to copy editing. I know it will return soon enough to my court for the next stages of work. Writing a book is a long involved process that started over a year ago, and will continue for months more. This is a third book. I know the drill and take a deep breath as I work through each step.
Today, I share with you the winter vegetable pie I first made over 30 years ago. I wrote about it in book two, Home Cooking.
There was a big snow. We were snowbound in our cabin. While my wuzband and son shoveled a path to the woodshed…
I cooked and baked.
Then we headed over to our neighbor’s house to enjoy an evening together.
How fast time goes. Those precious days feel just like yesterday with a memory that warms me to my core.
I hope this pie will warm you, too.
RECIPE: WINTER VEGETABLE SHEPHERDS PIE
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cider
- 3 tablespoons flour gluten free flour can be substituted if desired
- 3 cups stock mushroom, chicken, rabbit, or vegetable
- 3/4 pounds boiling onions brown skins removed, cut into halves
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 4 medium carrots peeled, cut in half and cut into 2 inch half moon pieces
- 1 large or 3-4 small parsnips peeled, cut in half and cut into 2-3 inch half moon pieces
- 1/2 pound mushrooms cut in halves
- 1 head cauliflower broken or chopped into medium pieces
- 10 Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
POTATO CRUST INGREDIENTS
- 2 and 1/4 pounds potatoes peeled and cut in quarters
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated (reserve 1/3 cup to sprinkle over the top)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper
TO MAKE THE PIE
- Make the sauce. (See below)
- Make the filling. (See below)
- Spoon the filling mixture into a deep-dish pie pan or a large baking dish
- Cover with the potato mixture and sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup cheese over the top.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F and bake for 40 minutes.
- Melt the butter and oil in a Dutch oven. Add onions, parsley, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, and salt and cook until the onions are brown but not burned. Stir occasionally.
- Add the cider and let cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Add flour and stock. Stir with a spoon to break up any lumps.
- Bring to a boil then cover and turn down heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Set aside.
- In a medium pot, boil water, add some salt. Add the cauliflower pieces and Brussels sprouts, and let boil for about a minute. Remove. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips, and cook for about 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add half the sauce, cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer.
- In another large skillet heat the remaining butter and oil. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, turn the heat to high, and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, carrots, and parsnips, to the cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Add the remainder of the sauce. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or so while stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
PROCEDURE POTATO CRUST
- Cover the potatoes with water plus 1 teaspoon of salt and boil until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and put them back into the pot with the butter, 2/3 cup of the cheese, and thyme.
- Mash the potatoes until they are smooth. Add salt and pepper to your taste.