Friday, October 26, 2007

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

When Irish eyes are smiling, you can bet there's Shepherd's Pie for dinner. I suppose it's my half-Irish heritage, all four of my great grandparents on my Dad's side having emigrated to America from different parts of Ireland to meet and marry in the mill towns of western Massachusetts, but any meal that includes lamb and potatoes is top on my list.

I found this very simple recipe for Shepherd's Pie on, one of my favorite websites. All you do is saute' onions (I used little frozen pearl onions this time) and some garlic in a little oil or butter, add ground lamb to brown it, sprinkle in whatever herbs you like plus lots of freshly ground black pepper and a little salt, mix in some still-frozen peas, top the whole thing with potatoes mashed with butter and a little cream, and heat in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. I used red potatoes this time, since I had some on hand, and left the skins on for interest, nutrition and flavor.

Right about then, Northern California experienced a heat wave.

This is rib-sticking comfort food, designed to get you through clammy, cloudy Irish winters.
Even a dyed-in-the-wool half-Celt like me can't face food this heavy when the temperature hovers around 85. I put it in the fridge reluctantly, as my taste buds were all set for those flavors, and pulled out the salad makings.

Luckily, warm weather never lasts long here by the Bay, so three days later we watched the fog stream in through the Golden Gate and rejoiced, knowing the Irish would be dancing a jig around dinner time that night.


Blogger Dagny said...

That's the beauty of living in the Bay Area. Your fridge should be prepared for all kinds of weather.

And deep in my heart, I know that there must be a part of me that's Irish. Because potatoes and lamb? Two of my favorite foods in the world. In fact, potatoes are about the only starch that I eat with the exception of couscous. I've never been much into rice or bread.

Shepherd's Pie makes me think of my mother's cousin. I visited her family when her husband was stationed in England. (Air Force, of course.) One night she served a Shepherd's Pie from a tin. I found the whole thing to be rather fascinating.

Friday, October 26, 2007  

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