Posts from September, 2021

Shepherd’s Pie

With cooler weather on the way we get hungry for dishes that are hearty and warm. And shepherd’s pie can sure hit the spot.

The British are known to put almost anything in a pie. To “pie” means to “jumble together”, and shepherd’s pie is just that. The dish is believed to have been developed in Scotland or northern England and was probably brought to the Pacific Northwest by settlers in British Columbia and Oregon.

Originated as a meal for Shepherd’s using the ingredients they could get easily (sheep and potatoes) – today it’s typically a mixture of leftover cooked lamb or beef, gravy and vegetables –placed in a casserole or deep pie dish, then topped with whipped potatoes and baked until golden. It’s a great dish to get creative with.

There are vegetarian versions, venison versions, some swanky restaurants even serve lobster pot pie. It can basically be made with almost anything ….and is perfect for using up leftovers.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe combines both lamb and beef, and has red wine and rosemary added to the filling, and then topped with Chevre & Chive Mashed Potatoes. Now that’s a hearty fall d’lish dish! -Kathy

Shepherd’s Pie with Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 large carrots, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large turnip, diced (about 2 cups)
1 leek, white part only, sliced, rinsed well, and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups lamb, beef, or chicken stock or low-sodium beef broth

First, prepare the Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes, and set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, carrots, turnip, and leek for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

To the same pan, add the meat and break up with a spoon. Cook the meat for about 5 minutes, or until browned. Carefully drain off any excess fat and return the pan to the heat. Stir in the rosemary, wine, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as you bring the mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the stock and stir this mixture into the boiling meat mixture. Stirring constantly, cook for about 1 minute to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, covering the meat mixture evenly and making the top peaky-pretty. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is lightly golden.

Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. unpeeled medium red potatoes, washed well and halved
1 cup milk or half-and-half
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. white pepper
4 oz wt. fresh goat cheese (chèvre), torn or cut into about 8 pieces
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives or very thinly sliced green onion tops

Put the potatoes in a very large pot and cover with water by at least 3 inches. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook on a low boil until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Test the potatoes to be sure they’re tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted, and the milk is warm. Do not boil. Keep warm.

When the potatoes are cooked, quickly drain them well in a large colander, then return them to the pot. Shake the pot over low heat for about 30 seconds to dry out any remaining water. Remove from the heat and add the milk mixture. (Both the potatoes and the liquid must be hot.) With a heavy-duty whisk or masher, mash the potatoes. Then add 1 tsp. of salt, the white pepper, and cheese, and whip or mash the potatoes until they are fluffy. Mix in the chives and cover the potatoes to keep warm.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 21st, 2021  |  Comments Off on Shepherd’s Pie |  Posted in Recent Posts

Mac and Cheese – Yes Please!

When I think of comfort food, one of the first things that come to mind is Mac & Cheese. Gooey, warm, and of course, cheesy delicious!

One of my favorite recipes is a 4 Cheese Penne Bake – penne pasta, garlic, and parmesan white sauce – tossed with loads of shredded cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, jack, and parmesan. Cover the whole thing with some fresh, herby breadcrumbs for a nice crunch.

Mac & Cheese is perfect to customize. You can add so many flavorful sauce additions like salsa, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or switch up the cheese combinations with your favorites.

For a fun customized dinner idea, how about serving a pan of housemade mac & cheese. Set out a variety of toppings for diners to build their own bowl. Think pulled pork, crab or shrimp, BBQ chicken, roasted red peppers, green onions, corn salsa, roasted artichokes, sautéed mushrooms, sausage, green chilies… Nothing is off limits! So get creative and dish up some cheesy goodness! -Kathy

 4 Cheese Penne Bake with Herb Breadcrumbs
Generously serves 6 – 8

Herb Breadcrumbs
3 cups packed, 1-inch French bread chunks
4 Tbsp. butter
pinch salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dry basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dry thyme leaves

Penne Bake
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 1/2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated high-quality Parmesan cheese
1-pound dry penne pasta
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated four-cheese blend
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated Tillamook medium cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the Herb Breadcrumbs: place the breadcrumb ingredients in a food processor, and pulse processor on and off until the bread becomes chopped into a fine crumb and is well mixed with the other ingredients. Set aside.

To make the Penne Bake: in a large heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir around for about 20 seconds — do not let garlic brown. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

While stirring vigorously with a whisk, add the milk. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and whisk occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne pasta per package directions until done. Drain well.

In a very large bowl, mix together the pasta and sauce, then fold in the grated cheeses until well combined. Place mixture into a lightly buttered, 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle with Herb Breadcrumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until pasta is heated through, sides are slightly bubbling, and the top is golden brown.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 14th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Mac and Cheese – Yes Please! |  Posted in Recent Posts

Falling for Apples

A true sign of Fall, apples appear everywhere, from thick-caramel-coated, to sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market.

The Northwest has always been the mecca for amazing apples; glorious Galas with their perfumy sweet flavor under a lovely red-pinky striped exterior, firm Fujis that hold their texture amazingly well when cooked, to deep-blushed Braeburns … and the list goes on.

What most of us, at least us pie-lovers think about when thinking of apples – is pie. Which of course is delicious, especially with a little cheddar cheese added into the crust.

But in addition to desserts, there are bushels of other great ways to cook with apples. Try whipping up my Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette. It’s really quick and delicious.

Just remember, one of the best apple tips to observe is to always keep your apples refrigerated. At 70 degrees, apples break down and become soft, 10 times faster than if refrigerated! Many a Northwesterner accomplished this in the olden days by stashing the winter’s apples under the bed — back when winter bedrooms were quite chilly. I bet those rooms smelled appley great!

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter or serve it as an entrée topped with grilled chicken breast and crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings (as a starter salad)

6 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

Place spinach, apple and onion in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a small non-stick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, but do not brown garlic. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.

Toss until salad is well coated with dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on September 7th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Falling for Apples |  Posted in Recent Posts