summer shepherd’s pie

lovely shepherd's pie

When you think of a comfort food dish like Shepherd’s Pie, usually you think of it as cold weather fare. But when you have a nice heapin’ helpin of garlic scape mashed potatoes as leftovers and you also have a pound of local, organic ground beef thawed and ready to goin your fridge, the two just cry out in unison, “Shepherd’s Pie, please!” And with all the great early summer veggies out there to throw into the mix, if the day isnt too hot to turn on the oven, how can you resist?

Summer Shepherd’s Pie
serves 4-6
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 lb organic ground beef
2-3 garlic scapes
2 whole green onions
3 mushrooms
2 small carrots, diced into pea-size chunks
1/3 cup peas
tsp butter
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onio powder
½ tsp paprika
2 Tblspn flour
2 Tblspn tomato paste
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp balsalmic vinegar (optional)
1 cup organic beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. While the oven is warming, brown your pound of meat over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.

lovely shepherd's pie

3. While meat is browning, put mushrooms, onions, and garlic scapes in your food processor or dice very fine (note: you can also slice your mushrooms thick and enjoy their taste and texture in the meal, but my husband doesnt like mushrooms so I ‘sneak’ them in this way).

lovely shepherd's pie

4. When meat is browned but not overly done, remove from pan and set aside. Return pan to medium heat, melt your tsp of butter and saute your mushroom, onion, and scape mixture until soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.

lovely shepherd's pie

5. Add your peas and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for three minutes.

6. Return browned meat to the pan, and add all of the dry seasonings. Stir very well, and cook for three minutes.

7. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, and stir well. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the contents of the pan and stir very well.

lovely shepherd's pie

8. Add your up of broth, bring contents just to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on low heat. Simmer 15 minutes, allowing the meat to tenderize and the sauce to reduce.

9. While the sauce is reducing, warm your left over mashed potatoes in a large saucepan with just a dash of milk to make them spreadable but not liquidy.

lovely shepherd's pie

10. After 15 minutes, place the meat mixture into a medium casserole dish. Scoop or, if you are really fancy, pipe warmed mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with paprika and melted butter if you wish and bake for 30 minutes.

lovely shepherd's pie

11. Note: I have yet to make the “perfect” shepherd’s pie where the sauce did not bubble up over the mashed potatoes at some point. I find if I put in any less liquid than the amount listed above, the mixture gets dried out and isn’t tender and tasty. But we don’t mind, because it still tastes great!

lovely shepherd's pie

This meal takes a little effort, but it is well-worth it, friends. Serve this with some crusty bread and a side salad, or a dish of fresh, local strawberries from your loft box and you have a fabulous summer meal. Bon Apetite!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

early summer saute

lovely saute

What’s great about the growing season kicking into gear is that you get to just open up your fridge and pick from a great green bounty, chop stuff up, and saute it in a pan with a bit of fat, a bit of acid, and a bit of seasoning, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. If you want to make it a meal, just add a bit of protein into the mix. The following is one such dish I whipped up this week from goodies in my local box, and you could easily make this a one-pot meal by adding cooked chicken or cannalleni beans.

Early Summer Saute
serves two as a side dish

lovely saute

1 tblspn butter or olive oil
1 tsp diced garlic
3 green onions
4 asparagus spears
4 mushrooms
1 zucchini
1 tsp dried basil (or fresh basil would be even better!)
juice of ¼ of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optional)

lovely saute

1. Dice your green onion, white and green parts included. In a large saucepan, saute your garlic and green onion your butter on medium low heat until the white part of the onion starts to get a little glassy.

lovely saute

2. While your onions are sauteing, slice your other veggies into nice bite-size pieces (see above photo).

lovely saute

3. Add your the asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini to the pan. Sprinkle your basil evenly over your veggies and stir. Saute on medium heat for five minutes.

4. Add lemon juice and continue cooking until the veggies are tender-crisp, no more than 10 minutes all together.

lovely saute

Salt and pepper to taste to finish this easy early summer side dish, and if you have some real Parmesan cheese to shave on top, even better! Bon Appetit!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller