Esta's Kitchen: Not Yo' Mama's Beer Shepherd's Pie
By: Esta Buchanan, May 31, 2012
Don Parkinson - Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.
Hey y’all…miss me?
I don’t know if you all spend regular time being jealous of me, but you should know that currently I’m writing this column from a private beach that my friends own. They left me with the dog while they attend their niece’s graduation on the North Shore.
It’s completely quiet, except for the waves and the seagulls, and I’m currently not wearing a bra. Could life get better? Answer…no.
So summer is upon us on Cape Cod. I know this because I’m already annoyed when driving. I don’t mind the tourists invading my very soul in the summer, but can’t they learn how to effing drive? Pretty soon they will be invading my ice cream places as well.
Just leave me the butter crunch from Somerset Creamery and no one gets hurt, folks.
All that being said, I suppose I should write a column about summer foods and beer, but instead I made Beer Shepherd’s Pie.
Unconventional this time of year, I know, but I think we all know convention has no place in this column.
Layers of flavors
Beer Shepherd’s Pie is something I’ve been dreaming about for a while. I’ve also been dreaming about that dreamy bartender at The Beach House, but that’s a whole other pie situation.
Not Yo' Mama's Beer Shepherd's Pie
- 6-8 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1.5 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1T of hot sauce—if you have any sense at all you will use sriracha
- 1 bottle Dogfish Saison da Buff beer.
- 1 t garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ stick (4 T) butter
- 2 T olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil the potatoes with the cloves of garlic.
When the potatoes are fork tender, drain, leaving the garlic in. Add the butter, salt, pepper and a ½ cup of the beer.
Mash the potatoes with a hand masher or hand blender to your smoothness preference. (I like them lumpy.) Mix in the cheese and set aside.
Saute veggies in olive oil for 5 minutess. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the corn, then add 1 cup of beer slowly until the veggies are soft. Set aside.
In same pan, fry the hamburger until it’s cooked about halfway. Then add 1 cup of beer (or more if you prefer) until the hamburger is finished cooking. When hamburger is finished, add the cream of mushroom soup and hot sauce. Keep cooking until the mixture thickens up.
In a 13 x 9-inch pan, layer first the hamburger mixture, then the veggies, then the mashed potatoes. Cook until the top is browned and crispy.
My beloved mother, The Jackanator, made shepherd’s pie quite frequently. I hope she doesn’t take what I’m about to say personally, but mine is better.
Good shepherd’s pie is something I’ve always loved and I’m not talking about the kind where you press raw meat down in the pan, add corn and layer everything else on top. That kind of shepherd’s pie is flat, flavorless and dry.
If you want to make good shepherd’s, pie my best advice it to treat each layer as its own separate dish. Do not assume everything will just meld in the oven and create a masterpiece.
Like so many things in life, you have to make the fabulous happen.
Man I’m full of the life metaphors today…must be the vodka I’m drinking. Did I mention there is vodka? Always assume there is vodka.
Secret ingredient? Dogfish!
I treat each layer differently, so that when the layers are assembled you get to savor all the flavors with each bite. As Mrs. P. says, “this is not your mama’s shepherd’s pie.”
My friend Dilliebean declared it “the tits” which is a favorite expression of his. I used to hate that word, that is, until Dilliebean entered my life. Now whenever I hear it, I think of him. Disturbing and sweet at the same time.
My secret weapon for this dish was Dogfish Head Beer’s Saison da Buff, brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (Kinda like the song.) So instead of me adding those flavors, the beer did. This is one of those dishes where I think the beer Really REALLY made the dish what it was.
I realize that in a lot of my recipes I tell you guys that any beer can be used, but in this case I’m recommending this particular kind of beer. Even if you don’t choose Saison by Dogfish, you should choose a good craft beer with similar flavors in it. Not only does it add tons of flavor, it’s also a time-saver.
Some like it hot
If you read my column at all, you know I use hot sauce in a lot of my recipes. That’s because I love hot sauce. Recently I’ve discovered the Asian hot sauce called sriracha. It’s so friggin’ good, so full of flavor, but not overly hot. The balance is amazeballs.
To put it a simpler way... it’s the tits, y’all