When I was a kid, as we drove up through Brewster, we would get to a certain point and my father would point to the top of the hill and say, “I have a friend who lives up there. Blankety Blank lives up there.” (Names omitted to protect the innocent). It came to the point that as those words came out of his mouth, my sister and I sighed, rolled our eyes in that way only little girls can, and finished the statement. And this went on for years, decades even.
Fast forward to the 21st Century. One of the people nearest and dearest to me in this life has my father’s habit of repeating the same story when certain touchstones are passed or smelled or said. Such is the case with this little hole in the wall restaurant that I keep being told makes the BEST Shepherd’s Pie any place. HA! My answer to this ridiculous statement – and you would agree if you ever saw this place! – always is the same “I make the best Shepherd’s Pie any place.”
Truth be told, I had NEVER made Shepherd’s Pie. I have always wanted to, have been in search for a great recipe for ages, but just never quite gotten there. The last pass by this “restaurant” and that silly statement being uttered, yet again, was juts the push I needed to get moving on this challenge!
And then I watched Lucinda Scala Quinn make Shepherd’s Pie on Mad Hungry, I knew this was the had-to-make recipe. This wasn’t just any old Shepherd’s Pie, but Keith Richards’ Shepherd Pie. I printed it and forgot it.
Desperately looking for something to read, I picked a book from Tom’s unending ‘to be read’ pile. Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, caught my eye. If nothing else, it should be wildly entertaining. And while reading, I came across the fact that Shepherd’s Pie is Keith’s favorite thing to eat. And then the light bulb went off and I remembered that Lucinda Scala Quinn had adapted this recipe from his autobiography.
It was a sign from above – no, not God, Julia Child.
- 8 T butter (1 stick), divided
- 5 potatoes, peeled and halved
- 3 T milk, plus more if needed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped, divided in half
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1/4 C Worcestershire
- 1/2 C chicken or beef stock
- 2 t cornstarch dissolved in 4 t water
- coarse salt
- 1/4 t white pepper
- 1 C frozen peas, thawed and drained
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large saute pan on medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and saute 1/2 of chopped onion, carrots and celery until softened. Add the meat and salt and cook on high, stirring occasionally until the moisture is evaporated and the meat is browning in fat, about 15 minutes.
When meat is browned, stir in Worcestershire and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock and cornstarch-water mixture and simmer for additional minute to thicken.
Peel and halve potatoes. Place in pot and cover with cold water to 2 inches above potatoes. Add generous amount of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot (or transfer to bowl). Mash the potatoes with 4 tablespoons butter, white pepper and a few tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add more milk if needed to make potatoes creamy.
In a 2-quart casserole dish, evenly distribute the cooked meat, top with peas and remaining chopped onion and dollop mashed potatoes on top.
Dot top of potatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, until warmed through and potatoes are golden on top, and pie is bubbling.
This was so good! The entire thing was gone. Take that little hole in the wall restaurant! I shake my fist in your general direction. No way YOUR Shepherd’s Pie is better than mine! And dear friend, come over any time and I’ll school ya on great Shepherd’s Pie! Thanks Keith and Lucinda!