Jesus, Mary, & Joseph…

Jesus, Mary, & Joseph and all the saints in Heaven!  For fucks sake, it’s an Irish evening in the Darga residence.

It all started over forty years ago when a young lassie was born to an Irish woman and an English, Welsh man.  Okay, fast forward to 1993 when I landed myself in Cork, Ireland with two Irish roommates, two Italian roommates, and one Polish roommate while I attended University College Cork.

After one random day of wandering around UCC being blasted by gale force winds (no lie, they have crazy-arse winds in that city!) I came back to our apartment to find that Mary, my roommate from Kerry, had made an jaw dropping/choirs of angels singing as the clouds parted in the heavens dinner.  My mouth embarrassingly watered, my eyes ogled, and my nose was in a trance as I asked what this concoction was.  She casually and so nonchalantly said, “Oh, this is a shepherd’s pie.  It’s so simple.”  I was in love!

This was the first and only time I had shepherd’s pie.  I have been dying to make it ever since but was always intimidated by this traditional Irish fare (for no reason at all).  But no more!  Tonight was the night that I embraced my fears and went for it (oh, and this was the first time ever I’ve made mashed potatoes ~ I know, I know, ridiculous!).

Gotta say, SUCCESS!  Paul is extraordinarily happy because this recipe involves all that is good in the world for him.  It is perfect for a warm and cozy family night at home.  My only comment is to cut the mashed potatoes down by a 1/3.  Use 4 potatoes as opposed to 6 then adjust the recipe accordingly.  The layer of potatoes was too thick.

Taitneamh a bhaint as do chuid béile!  Enjoy your meal.

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie (recipe care of “Jo Cooks”)

Shephard's Pie.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

For Meat Mixture:  1 tbsp olive oil, 1 1/4 lb lean ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, 1 large onion chopped, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1.9 oz onion soup mix, 1 cup beef broth, 2 cups frozen mixed veggies

For Mashed Potatoes:  6 large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes, 4 tbsp butter softened, 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:  Start by first cooking the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the meat mixture.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook it for abut 5 minutes or until it’s no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along.
Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, beef broth and stir. Stir in the frozen veggies and cook for a couple more minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven 350 F degrees.  Prepare the mashed potatoes. Drain the potatoes then add them to a large bowl. Add in the butter and using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, salt pepper and mash a bit a more until smooth.
Spread the potatoes over the meat and smooth with a spoon. Take a fork and rough up the top a bit and garnish with a bit of parsley.  Place the skillet on a baking sheet, then place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.  Garnish with more parsley and pepper and serve warm.

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