With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, it’s only appropriate to begin preparatory measures whether it’s purchasing green clothing, copious amounts of booze or cooking an Irish-inspired meal.
As for me, well, I’ll be doing all three since it’s necessary to indulge in all aspects of this great holiday. But in terms of making a meal, I don’t think you can get more Irish than shepherd’s pie.
So, I didn’t make a pie per se, more of a drunken mess, but I deconstructed it to take less time to make. The notable ingredients in this dish are lamb and potatoes. If you truly know Ireland, you understand that the Irish love their spuds and have enough sheep roaming their countryside to feed and clothe a small country.
If you’re questioning whether you’d enjoy lamb or not, consider this: shepherds raise sheep, not cattle. So if you’re thinking of using beef, just know you’ll be making a dish paying homage to Texas ranchers not Irish shepherds.
Continuing on the topic of lamb, it’s a delicate meat and should be cooked no more than medium rare. It pairs exceptionally well with fresh thyme and rosemary as the supporting flavors. And if you’re into seasonal eating, lamb is meant to be eaten in spring which just so happens to be right around the corner.
As for potatoes, well, I don’t think I need to do much explaining. Potatoes are to Ireland like pasta is to Italians – they just can’t get enough.
Anyway, if you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the right way you’ll do more than just drown yourself in bottles of Jameson and pints of Guinness.
Read up on your Irish history and gain a better understanding of what it is you’re actually celebrating. Eat some lamb and potatoes, hug a leprechaun and make an attempt to do an Irish accent. Appreciate another country’s culture, don’t just be another passively ignorant American.
In the words of every happy-go-lucky Irishman, “Erin go Bragh!”
½ lb. Lamb chops
½ bag of red potatoes, cubed
1 pint half-and-half
3 carrots, chopped
½ white onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
8 sprigs rosemary & thyme leaves, minced
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen or canned peas
¼ cup chicken stock
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Peel potatoes, cut in half. Cover potatoes in cold water in pot, cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease heat to low and cook 15-18 minutes. Once fork tender, drain in colander, place back into pot, mash and add melted butter, garlic and some warmed half-and-half. As potatoes cook, sauté vegetables with garlic on medium heat until tender, 10-12 minutes. Season lamb with salt and pepper, on medium-high heat sear for three minutes each side. Add lid for additional three minutes to cook through. Once lamb is done, place on plate to rest, add flour to the pan and whisk until golden brown. Add the rest of half-and-half, salt and pepper and chicken stock, whisk until smooth consistency to make gravy. Serves 2-3.