Shepherd’s Pie

This is a nice dish for supper on a cold night. I had two partially used packages of ground meat in my freezer, so that’s what I used for this recipe. I had carrots freshly picked from my garden and green beans that I had blanched and frozen earlier in the season.

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 cup lactose-free milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar or other hard cheese

olive or vegetable oil
2 leeks, washed and sliced, green parts only
1 1/4 lbs ground beef, lamb, or a mixture of the two
2 -3 carrots, diced
1 heaping cup cut green beans, frozen is fine
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Put the potato chunks in a large saucepan, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender 10 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks. Drain and mash the potatoes together with the butter and milk. Stir in the cheese then taste and adjust seasoning.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat about a tablespoon of oil in an oven-proof skillet.  Add the leeks, and give them a couple of stirs around the pan until they just begin to soften. Add the meat and cook, breaking up clumps, until it is no longer pink. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until the carrots start to soften. There should be a little liquid in the pan but it should not be soupy. Add water if necessary.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove from the heat and spread the mixture out evenly in the pan; top with an even layer of the potato mixture. Pop into the oven uncovered and let it bake 25 – 30 minutes or until the potatoes just begin to brown. Serve hot, hot, hot!


Spaetzle and Cabbage Gratin

Last week, Melissa Clark of the New York Times published a recipe for a homemade noodle (spaetzle) made with rye flour and served in a simple gratin with some quickly braised cabbage. I have my favorite way of fixing cabbage so I combined that with some wheat-free spaetzle. It was delicious and perfect for a supper on a chilly fall evening.  Clark used a colander with large holes for making her spaetzle; I used a potato ricer. My batter was a bit thicker than hers (watch her video) and it worked perfectly. I used King Arthur Flours gluten free blend.   Common green cabbage is allowed on the low FODMAP diet.

1/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
2 leeks, washed and sliced, green parts only
3 cups sliced green cabbage
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

1 egg
1/3 cup lactose-free milk
1 1/2 cups King Arthur gluten free flour, divided

1 cup grated hard cheese (parmesan, romano, asiago, cheddar, whatever)

Preheat oven to 425F and put a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat. In a large, oven-safe skillet, melt the butter. Add the leeks and saute for a few minutes until the leeks start to soften then add the cabbage. Put a lid on the pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring every few minutes until the cabbage is cooked through and the leeks are starting to brown. While the cabbage is cooking, mix together the egg and milk. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk in 1 cup of flour and combine thoroughly. Let it sit for a minute. If the mixture is very thin, add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time until you achieve a batter that won’t just run right through the holes of your colander or potato ricer. When the batter is thick enough and your large pot of water is boiling, hold the colander or ricer over the water and push the batter through the holes. Give the water a stir. The noodles are done when they float to the surface.  Remove the noodles with a slotted spoon and reserve them in a bowl.

When the cabbage is cooked, remove the lid from the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and plenty of nutmeg. This dish should be highly seasoned. Taste and add more s&P and nutmeg as needed. Add the noodles to the pan and stir gently to combine with the cabbage. Spread the mixture out in the pan, top with the grated cheese and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with more pepper.