Irish Cottage Pie | Shepherd's Pie

Gluten free cottage pie and shepherds pie recipe with mashed potato topping
Gluten-free shepherd's pie, Irish style cottage comfort.

Old School Comfort


I have been craving comfort food and shepherd's pie- even though it's been a warm and breezy week here by the Chama River north of Santa Fe. The promise of Spring is tugging at our sluggish winter bodies, cracking and stiff and a tad thicker than one would care to admit. We are itchy to walk- just as the junipers are shedding pollen in curtains of dirty yellow. We walked and sneezed and rubbed gritty eyes.

For this we waited all winter? I complained.

It strikes us as ironic if not downright diabolical. Mother Nature is taunting us. The coyotes are laughing on the rim of the mesa. I listen and note they are closer than usual, emboldened by our wintery hibernation. The land belongs to them now. We're simply tourists.

This doesn't bother me. I'm just here in passing, on my way home. Taking the long way- dreaming of the west coast and waves of glassy blue-green curling in to shore. I'm an ocean girl, a beachcomber. A wearer. Not a . I've never ridden a horse in my life. Or handled a rifle (two skills highly valued in this part of the world). The desert does not feed me. She takes from me. Sucking every last drop. If I stay here much longer I fear you will find me as brittle and sun-bleached as one of Georgia O'Keeffe's bone paintings.

I'm not quite ready to give up on the juicy part of my life.

Meeting your soul mate (did I just write the words soul mate?) after mid-life will do that to you. An autumn meeting of kindred spirits inspires a sharp thirst for more time. More juice. Looking ahead- down the road of your life- can be alarming. It's shorter and rutted and slightly curving downhill, not so far and away anymore. Carpe diem as the wise ones say.

And though (in theory) we should all embrace each day as if it might, indeed, be our last, this effort gains a deeper poignancy at 54. My knuckles are so bumpy with arthritis now I can no longer wear my wedding ring. I twisted it off with pain and dish soap. I didn't want to have it sawed off. Just the thought of the saw buzz made me shiver with separation anxiety.

When I was lying on the gurney outside the operating room, awaiting hip surgery- after ten hours in the ER playing our Movie Game with said soul mate (to play the game you start with A and take turns naming a movie title until you run out of A's; then you move on to the B's) the pony-tailed anesthesiologist told me to remove my wedding ring.

I can't, I said. It won't come off, don't worry.

It's hospital policy, she explained. To remove jewelry before surgery.

You'll need a saw, I said. She smiled. I'll get some surgical tape- we'll tape it, she whispered.

I tilted my face toward my husband. He stood there, stoic and brave, betrayed by a gleam of wetness obscuring his usual clear and steady blue gaze. We both knew the risks of breaking a hip, and undergoing emergency hip surgery. The odds aren't kind. But my age was in my favor. I was twenty years younger than the average woman who falls and breaks a hip. You're a spring chicken, the surgeon had said.

I love you, I told my husband. Tell the boys I love them. I felt the nurse tape my wedding ring. Ready? she asked.


Shepherd's/Cottage Pie - Gluten-free Comfort Food
Red potatoes make a beautiful topping for Irish cottage pie.

Karina's Irish Cottage Pie | Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Recipe posted March 2009.

Traditional comfort food for those of you still shoveling snow- or battling juniper pollen. Well, traditional with a few tweaks. We used organic grass fed buffalo. And no dairy at all- no butter or milk. You can use the more traditional ground beef in this recipe, if you prefer. It would be tasty with ground turkey, too. Or even keep it vegan with kidney beans or tofu. It's all good. Spring is almost here. Really. It is.

Ingredients:

For the topping:

6 small to medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, to taste

For the filling:

1 pound organic grass fed ground meat or free-range ground turkey
2 large leeks, cleaned, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, trimmed, sliced
1 cup baby peas- frozen, thawed, is fine
1 14-oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the potatoes in a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until under fork tender.

Saute the ground meat or turkey in a large hot skillet till lightly browned; pour off the fat if there is any; return the skillet to the stove. Add a dash of olive oil. Toss in the leeks and garlic; stir and cook until the leeks are soft.

Add in the carrots; stir and cook for a couple of minutes till tender-crisp. Add in the baby peas and tomatoes. Stir in the red wine, balsamic vinegar, sugar, herbs and cinnamon. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Back to the potatoes:

Drain the potatoes. Season with sea salt, ground pepper. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and stir to soften the edges a bit.

Layer the filling in a casserole or baking dish.

Top with the potatoes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until bubbling and hot- about 25 to 30 minutes.

Serves 4.

More comfort food + cottage style pie recipes:


Sweet Potato Rancher's Pie
Good Karma Meatloaf Pie
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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xox Karina

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