Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recipe 30: Irish Shepards Pie

A couple of my friends went on a trip to Ireland and so in honor of that I decided to try making something that was kind of Irish.  I settled on trying to make a version of Shepards Pie.
Over all, this recipe was pretty easy to make and was also pretty good.  I made this and took it over to Eric and Allison's and watched the first presidential debate with them.

Here is a (kind of blurry) picture of the final result:

 And here is the recipe that I used (link):


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups water, or as needed
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 pound Irish cheese (such as Dubliner®), shredded
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place olive oil and butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and ground lamb; brown the meat, breaking it up into small crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour until incorporated, then mix in salt, black pepper, rosemary, paprika, cinnamon, ketchup, and garlic; cook and stir until garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring mixture to a simmer; cook and stir until thick, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Remove lamb mixture from heat and stir in peas and carrots until combined.
  6. Spread lamb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  7. Place potatoes into a large pan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return potatoes to pan.
  8. Mash butter, cayenne pepper, cream cheese, and Irish cheese into the potatoes. Mash until combined and potatoes are smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  9. Whisk together egg yolk and milk in a small bowl; stir into the mashed potato mixture.
  10. Top the lamb mixture in the baking dish with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly to cover.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling up around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.


The only change that I made was the type of meat that I used.  I didn't really want to make lamb and so I decided to just use ground beef instead.  This may have made it less authentic, but I felt better about it.

I guess that I also changed in that I didn't use a Dutch Oven, I just cooked this on the stove.

The Process

This was a kind of involved recipe, but still wasn't too bad.  Perhaps that actually means that I have improved as a cook?

Anyway, the first step was to chop up the potatoes and cook them.

While they were cooking I started the meat mixture.  I cooked the ground beef and then added the veggies.

Once that was done, I spread it out in a 9x13 casserole dish.

Once the potatoes were done I added the cheese, milk, and other assorted ingredients and mashed it all up.

I then spread that out over the meat mixture and put it in the oven.

I took it out when the edges were bubbling and the potatoes were golden brown.

And once again, here is the final result.

I really liked this recipe.  I thought it was really good.  I think it might be better served with something as a side dish... but I am not sure exactly what. 

While there are a lot of ingredients and instructions, this dish was actually pretty simple to make and was also really good.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recipe 29: Pulled Pork

While the last few recipes were simple and not all that impressive, I was super pleased with this one and it was also really simple.  I am not sure exactly why I decided to make pulled pork, I think I was just looking at recipes and found it. One thing that appealed to me was that it used a slow cooker.  I have managed to indefinitely borrow one of those from Eric and Allison.  So I figured that I might as well actually use it.

Regardless, I have made this 4 times total and everyone that I have shared it with has really liked it, so I think that is a good sign!

Here is the final result.  I had it with sandwich form with coleslaw in the top:

And here is the recipe that I used (link):


  •     1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  •     1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
  •     1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
  •     8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted


  1. Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.


I made a lot of changes to this recipe, based on suggestions from other users.  The first and by far the most important change was to use pork shoulder instead of pork tenderloin.  So I bought a 5 pound pork shoulder instead of the tenderloin.

Because of the increase in size, I also increased how much soda and BBQ sauce that I used.  I used to bottles of root beer and two bottles of BBQ sauce, instead of the one recommended.  The type of root beer doesn't really matter, I would recommend Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, since it is really good, but if you have another favorite, I am sure that would be great too.

The final change, which I think made a big difference is that after I am done shredding the pork  added it back to the slow cooker with the BBQ sauce and cooked it for another hour.

The Process

So at first I was unsure about cooking the pork in the root beer.  I wondered if it would make it taste weird, or like root beer.  So I did some research and basically the root beer simply is used to soften up the meat.

I added the pork shoulder to the slow cooker and then put the root beer in.  The root beer didn't quite cover up the pork, but I figured that was OK.

This is what it looked like when I was ready to take it out of the slow cooker.

This might have been one of sprinkles favorite dishes that I have made.  She snarfed down as much pork as I would give her.

To separate the pork I put it on a cookie sheet and then used two forks to pull it apart.  I made sure to separate the fat from the good meat.  You can sort of see it off in the corner of the sheet in the picture below.

I then put the pork back in the slow cooker and added the BBQ sauce.  It then cooked for another hour.

While that was cooking I made some coleslaw and used that to make the sandwiches.

I thought that this recipe turned out amazing.  The pork is really good, and this has been confirmed by the people that I have shared this with.  In later iterations I used Kaiser Rolls instead of hamburger buns.  I though that the Kaiser Rolls were much better and would for sure recommend those.