What a week. I don’t even know where to start.
I guess with Sunday, when I worked a full day to make up for the days we were closed last week. Then came Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all of which felt like a day later than they actually were. I got home on average 7:30 each night, and got straight to work in the kitchen. I went to bed after 2 am every night. Now it’s Thursday, well after 2 and I am not nearly done in the kitchen.
Did I mention that my company will be closed next week, so it’s about doubly busy this week? Yeah, I did drink loads of coffee. Why do you ask?
Enough complaining about me. Let’s talk global issues. I honestly couldn’t believe how saddened I was at the death of Steve Jobs. Sure I discovered the news on my iPhone, which frankly I am in love with. But still, I never met the man, I never interacted with him, yet my stomach dropped when I heard the news, and I felt like I was going to cry. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because I am a gadget freak, and he changed the technology world forever. Maybe because I use one of his products on a daily (who am I kidding? Minutely) basis. Maybe it’s selfish and I simply worry that the company won’t go on to produce the same kind of quality products without his guidance. All I know right now is…iSad.
Now lets talk yankees. They were blown out of the playoffs tonight. Y’know what? I changed my mind. Let’s talk about something more pleasant.
Let’s talk Mini Shepherd’s Pies. I don’t know when and how this idea came to me, but frankly I am in awe of myself. I know, I know, I need to work on my humility, but that’s for another time. The great thing about these is how absolutely impressive they look. Nobody has to know how simple they are to make. Next time you have a party, or you have guests you want to impress, go ahead and serve this as an appetizer. It’s a true comfort-food-turned-elegant starter.
Mini Shepherd’s Pies:
24 mini (3″) frozen pie shells
oil, for frying
1 large onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
1 lb chopped meat (I used beef)
1/2 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup broth or stock (I used vegetable)
4 potatoes, boiled.
1 stick margarine
salt and black pepper, to taste
Finely dice onions and sautee on medium flame in oil until translucent. Mince garlic and add to onions. Dice carrot finely and add to skillet. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Continue to cook vegetables until they are tender.
Remove vegetables from pan. Add more oil. Increase the heat and brown meat, stirring frequently with a fork to break meat into small pieces. When meat is browned, turn the hear down and add back in the vegetables. Stir to combine. Add flour and stir well, cooking until completely mixed in. (You shouldn’t be able to see the flour at this point.) Add the tomato paste and stir until mixture is thick. Add broth and simmer until broth is mostly evaporated.
At this point, the meat mixture is fully cooked, so taste it and adjust seasoning as needed.
Fill pie crusts right to the top with meat mixture and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375.
Melt the margarine (either in a microwave or in a small pot). Pour melted margarine over potatoes and mash until potatoes are creamy. Add salt and pepper, seasoning to taste.
At this point you can spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat, but if you want to go for the “wow” presentation with surprisingly little additional work, place the mashed potatoes in a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip (I used a 1M tip) and pipe rosettes over the meat.
Place the pies on a baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until the pie crust edges appear brown and the mashed potatoes are just turning light brown on the top.
Linking this to This Chick Cooks.