Monday, September 19, 2011

Shephard's Pie

Nothing says home cooking like some Shephard's Pie.  At least not to me.  Literally this one is one of my favorite meals to have when I go home to Missouri and sit at my family's table.  My Step-Mother, Angela, makes the all time best one that I have ever had.  And for years I have been trying to replicate it for my family at home, only to consistantly not get it quite right.  So, today I decided not to try and duplicate her's, but to enhance it and switch it up a bit with some of my Grandma's Grease Gravy done up more like dinner gravy rather than breakfast gravy and a handful of blue cheese.  Oh, and not to forget the addition of the apple cider.  I like to throw in some cider anywhere that I can when I am cooking in the fall.  It just feels right to me. 

1 lb. of bulk sage breakfast pork sausage
4 T. of pancake mix (I used Bisquick)
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of apple cider
fresh cracked pepper
3 Lg. baking potatoes (peeled, quartered and sliced)
sea salt
1/3 cup of milk
3 T. of real unsalted butter
12 oz. of frozen peas (defrosted)
1- 14.75oz. can of creamed corn
1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese (divided)
2 T. of crumbled blue cheese

-Preheat your oven to 350* and start a large stockpot of water for a boil.  In a large saucepan, begin browning your sausage over a high flame.  When your sausage has just begun to get a nice golden brown crusting on it (don't let it go too long or else the grease pulls up into it too much), stir in the pancake mix and continue cooking a few more minutes to brown it (make sure to be continuously stirring through this entire gravy making process).  Then add in your chicken stock, water and cider.  Bring this to a simmer while stirring constantly still until it begins to thicken and tighten up.  Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of a 2 qt. casserole dish.  Meanwhile for the mashed potatoes crust, add a healthy amount of sea salt into your rapidly boiling stockpot and the potatoes; boil for about 15-20 minutes or until they are soft.  Drain potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add in the milk, butter and some pepper (your salt is already in there from the boiling process) and mix well with a hand mixer (I like them whippy with a few little lumps); set aside.  Back to the casserole dish with the layer of sausage and gravy, cover this then with a layer of the peas, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, a layer of the creamed corn, the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese, the crumbled blue cheese and then lastly the mashed potatoes (I spread them out keeping about 1" from the edges).  Bake at 350* for 65-70 minutes or until the mashed potatoes begin to get slightly brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving (or else it will be soupy-let it firm up while cooling).  Serves 4.  Enjoy!

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