So, it's been a while since I shared a recipe with you guys, let me tell you why, and then share my Sheppard's Pie (like that accidental rhyme?) recipe that in a way, brought me back to life.
Cooking is a passion of mine, but when I lost my Nana in August, who had taught me so much of what I know about
cooking, I felt like that passion died with her. I sunk into a dark hole and that meant my family ate takeout or sandwiches for almost a month. I would think about what I would cook for dinner during the day, I would even go to the grocery store and buy what I needed, but when the time came, I couldn't bring myself to cook. Just looking at certain pots and pans made me cry. You see, my Nana and I would talk daily and we always talked about what we were going to "fix for supper", or what we had whipped up for breakfast and lunch. I would call her if I scored a whole chicken or pot roast on sale or if I needed a quick reminder for something I needed to pick up at the store. I'll never forget that fateful day I found my beloved All Clad 4-qt nonstick pot at TJ Maxx with a STEAL of a price...I immediately called her and squealed about it! She was just as happy as I was. I talked to my Nana about everything, but I can say without doubt the one subject we talked about more than anything else was food. It was something we both loved.
So, cooking was painful. I no longer had her to call to ask how long to cook this for, what temperature that should be cooked on, what goes well with that, how long to soak this. I had to do it alone, and for me that meant avoiding it, and throwing away obscene amounts of spoiled food over the past month that I just could not bring myself to cook.
But one day it changed. I decided I needed comfort food and had to get past this hole I was sitting in. My family needed a decent meal! I don't know why I decided on Sheppard's Pie, but I do remember the first time I cooked it how many Nana
told me she loved those and made them all the time when my Mom was little. Maybe it was her pushing me to cook it, or maybe it was just the first thing I thought of, but either way, it brought me back to life.
It was good, the best one I've made. It was comforting. And it made me proud. Proud of myself for finally cooking again and proud that even though I wanted to call Nana and ask her opinion on how much water I should add to the onion soup mix, I figured it out alone. So, as odd as it is that I now have an emotional connection to Sheppard's Pie, I'm so glad I do, because it reminded me that I can cook and I should cook. Cooking heals the soul and it's a sweet reminder that even though my Nana is gone, I still have her knowledge in my heart.
So, let's get cooking! Has cooking healed your soul before? Do you have a meal that means something to you? Let me know!
Preheat your oven to 350˚
Wash, dice and cook 4--6 russet potatoes (this will depend on the size) in salt water, then mash
- While your oven is preheating and potatoes cooking, in your cast iron skillet brown your hamburger meat in 1T olive oil (I use a very lean mean so I don't have to drain fat)
- Season your meat while it cooks with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste
- Once your meat is browned add in 1 chopped medium onion and 2 cloves minced garlic
- While your garlic and onions are cooking, mix together 1 cup of water with a pack of onion soup mix, sit aside
- When your garlic and onion have cooked and mixed in well with your meat, add in 1tsp red pepper flakes and 2T Worcestershire sauce
- Stir and add in your onion soup mix and 1/4C red wine (I used a pinot noir)
- Mix in 2C frozen vegetables (my mix includes carrots, corn, green beans and peas)
- Simmer until veggies are warm and everything has mixed well together
Get back to your potatoes, mash them up with 1/2C parmesan cheese, 4T butter and 1/4C milk. Mash them up very well - no chunks!
Once your potatoes are finished and your meat/veggie mix is warmed through, add your potatoes (one spoon full at a time) to the top. Gently spread your potatoes evenly, and "whip" in a circular motion. Sprinkle with parsley and bake for 40 minutes!
You guys, this is SO good. Full of flavor and doesn't make a huge mess in your kitchen! It's also pretty heavy, so be sure to make it on a night when your family is H-U-N-G-R-Y!
Try it out and tell me how yours turns out!