Cooking With Grass – Shepard’s Pie

If you give Punxsutawney Phil’s opinion any weight, springtime is going to arrive before the actual season makes a change. As the temperatures begin to poke their heads above 60 degrees once again, most of us can feel that shift, when we finally throw open the windows, knock out the spring cleaning and yard work, and go enjoy a day outside with friends and family. It’s a refreshing time of year, with everything waking back up and turning green, and for many, it’s also a busy time of year. School is getting ready to wrap up in just a few short months for some, graduations or new jobs for others, and as the days get longer, so do our to-do lists. 

 

While some people have had their fill of filling casseroles or rich soups over the winter months, the extra chores that often come along with springtime, along with the still-chilly nights, keep these hearty dishes on the menu for many. With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it felt appropriate to present a cannabis-infused dish with roots in Irish culture: shepherd’s pie.

 

While the recipe below uses beef, shepherd’s pie traditionally used lamb or mutton, as you would guess from the name, but you can also use ground chicken or turkey if you’d prefer. Both the potatoes on top and the meat filling are infused in this recipe, so if you prefer a lower dosage, feel free to swap out infused butter for plain old salted butter. If you’re pressed for time, or simply don’t want to mess with fresh mashed potatoes, feel free to use instant from a box and prepare as you normally would.

 

As always, make sure anything you cook with infused butter or oil is properly labeled or secured out of reach of unsuspecting fridge-raiders. 

 

Ingredients:

 

Mashed potato topping:

1 ½ lbs. Russet potatoes 

¼ C whole milk

¾ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 egg yolk

4-5 tbsp cannabutter

 

Filling:

1 C diced onion

2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced

2 garlic gloves, finely minced

1 ½ lbs ground beef (use chicken, turkey, lamb or protein of choice)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

4 tbsp cannabutter

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 C chicken broth

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

½ C fresh or frozen peas

½ C fresh or frozen corn

11×7 baking dish

 

Instructions:

 

Potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 400, peel all potatoes and cut them into chunks, about ½ inch in size.
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water, then place pan over high heat and cover with a lid. Bring to boil.
  3. Once boiling, remove the lid and lower the heat to medium or medium-low. Continue to simmer the potatoes for approximately 10-15 minutes more, until they are extremely tender and ready to mash.
  4. Melt your cannabutter in the microwave and allow it to cool considerably before mixing it with the whole milk. (Careful: putting hot liquid into a dairy product can cause it to curdle, so take the extra time and let your butter cool off.)
  5. Drain the potatoes carefully, and return them to the now-empty pot. Use a potato masher if you have one, or a large fork otherwise, and begin to mash the potatoes. About halfway through, add your milk and melted butter, and continue to mash until you have smooth potatoes. Add your egg yolk, salt and pepper,  stir to thoroughly combine, and set aside.

 

Filling:

  1. Add cannabutter to large skillet, melt over medium heat on the stove. Once the butter is hot, add in the diced onions carrots. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. 
  2. Add the minced garlic, and stir, allowing to saute for 2-3  minutes more.
  3. Add your ground beef or other protein, and season with salt and pepper. Cook your ground beef until it’s finely broken down and browned. 
  4. Once the meat is fully cooked, sprinkle on the two tablespoons of flour, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and rosemary. Stir well to combine.
  5. Bring the contents of the skillet to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook the filling for 10-12 minutes, until the sauce has thickened considerably. 
  6. Stir in the corn and peas at the end, ensure they’re warmed fully before removing from the heat.
  7. Pour the meat and sauce into your 11×7 baking dish. Top the meat with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edge of the dish and pressing down with a rubber spatula. Making this seal will help ensure it doesn’t bubble over during the cooking process, saving you from a potential headache. (If you want to take an extra preventative step, place your baking dish on a sheet pan.)
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes have started to turn golden brown. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for at least fifteen minutes before serving.

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