Recipes: Shepherd's Pie and Baked Apples

As promised, here are recipes for Shepherd’s Pie and baked apples. Enjoy!

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Untraditional Shepherd’s Pie 

1 spaghetti squash, roasted*

1 pound ground beef
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 package mushrooms, diced (I used cremini)
1 cup frozen peas
2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 to 1 cup Guinness
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Topping:

6 medium russet potatoes
5-6 garlic cloves, roasted*
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter (half stick)
1/4 cup beef broth (splash)
salt and pepper

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

*To roast the squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Cut the squash in half, place cut side down on the cookie sheet and roast for 1 hour. [You can roast the garlic for the mashed potatoes along with the squash — just cut a head of garlic in half, or pull out whole cloves. Place them on a small square of aluminum foil and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Fold up the corners of the foil, wrap it tightly in a packet and place it in the oven with the squash.] Let the squash cool, then break apart the strands with a fork and scoop out the filling. Set it aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Peel, dice and boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender. (You can roast the garlic separately in the oven with the squash, or just throw the cloves in to boil with the potatoes.)

In a fairly large pot, brown the meat on medium heat and then remove it from the pan. Drain off any excess fat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, just a couple of minutes . Add the carrots, mushrooms and garlic and cook until soft, another 3-4 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and then stir in tomato paste and flour. Cook for two minutes. Add the Guinness and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Add beef broth, rosemary and salt/pepper to taste.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Add more liquid if you need to — you want a thick gravy but don’t let it get too dry or burn on the bottom. Stir often.

While the meat cooks, drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Add roasted garlic, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper and a splash of beef broth, and mash. Add more broth or milk if you like a thinner consistency.

In a large dish, add the meat mixture, top with spaghetti squash and then mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Add cheese to the top and cook another 15 minutes.

*Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian’s Shepherd’s Pie and Chuck Hughes’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

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Baked Apples with Salted Caramel Sauce 

4 apples (I used Braeburn)
4 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoon butter
cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Core the apples and place in a baking dish. Cut the butter into chunks and layer about 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and dashes of cinnamon in the core of each apple. *You could also layer in some raisins with the butter and sugar, if you’d like. Top the apples with a final small slice of butter and a dash of cinnamon.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until soft. You could cover them with aluminum foil to help the cooking process, but I baked mine uncovered.

As you can see, this is a completely scalable recipe.You just need 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and butter per apple, so make as many or as few apples as you’d like.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
sea salt

* Be careful, since working with hot sugar can be dangerous.

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the sugar and just a dash of water to get the melting started. Melt the sugar until it reaches a golden color. As soon as you see it turning golden, remove quickly from the heat. Add the butter and stir. Add the heavy cream and stir. The sugar might foam up a little bit when you add these cold ingredients, so watch out. When it reaches a caramel consistency, stir in a couple of dashes of sea salt. Pour into a dish and let it cool slightly.

 

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