Archive for December 13th, 2007


WND – Shepherd’s Pie

December 13, 2007

In fairness to British cuisine, there’s a lot of it that I like – Toad in the Hole, Ploughman’s Lunch, Bangers ‘n’ Mash. I even genuinely like Haggis* as long as I don’t think too hard about what’s in it. By the same token, however, there’s a lot of British food that’s fairly inexplicable – Bubble ‘n’ Squeak, kippers, kedgeree (for breakfast? really?), blood pudding.

One of the many moves of my childhood was to Hong Kong where I acquired a pristine British accent (it didn’t last, much to my parents’ disappointment) and a somewhat curious fondness for baked beans on toast (from a can, on the whitest bread you can find – I make very good homemade baked beans; they don’t taste right on toast). I did not, however, pick up a fondness for Shepherd’s Pie because the filling is usually watery, the mashed potatoes are gluey, and the whole thing is a festival of blandness.

About 10 years ago Britain got tired of its reputation as a land of lamentable food, and there was a rash of bistro pubs that opened making gourmet versions of traditional pub food. This Shepherd’s Pie would be right at home on one of those menus. Mind you, the recipe comes from an Italian chef who lives in California, so it’s probably about as far from a traditional English Shepherd’s Pie as you can get and still have it be recognizable.

* Yes I know it’s Scottish, but I used to eat it at a pub in Edinburgh so in my mind it’s pub food.

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