Shepherd’s Pie

Mar 23rd

I made this right before we went to New York last week, and it was outstanding. The perfect last of  winter, or cold spring evening, comfort meal! I had never made it before, and the flavors that blended together, to make this mouth watering dish, are so creamy and savory. It’s filled with applewood-smoked bacon, ground beef, onion, carrots, etc. The topping is my favorite part, made with russet potatoes, turnips, butter, milk, parmesan, and fresh chives. It makes enough for 6 to 8 people, so we had it for leftovers, and gave some to my Mom and her friend. I hope you make it tonight, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

gawker1As I said, we went to New York last week, to celebrate my 55th birthday. Our boy’s live there, and we try to go once a year for my birthday. I wish we could visit more often, but I’ll take what I can get. We had so much fun, and it was the best time I ever had there. I was fortunate to eat at some new restaurants, that I’ve been wanting to try, and some other one’s that we return to every year, because they are that good! This year, we were fortunate to have both our boy’s, and their girl’s, with us every night. I not only love our boy’s, more then you can imagine, I also love their girlfriends! Anyway, the first night we ate at Patsy’s, which is an old favorite of mine, that I used to eat at, when I was a flight Attendant, for Eastern Air Lines. They have fabulous pizza, and of course, I couldn’t eat just pizza, so I had their eggplant parmesan, which was heavenly. We then headed to watch our oldest son do a standup routine, and met one of his agent’s. Needless to say we thought he was phenomenal! We didn’t get back to our hotel until 1:00 in the morning.

The next day, Morgan had to work, so P.J., Pete and I, headed over to the Barclay Center, to watch the St. Louis Billikens get beat, in an Atlantic ten conference tournament, which was in Brooklyn. Even though they lost, P.J. and I enjoyed Nathan’s hotdogs, and a slice of pizza, before we headed back to the city, and took a much needed rest at our hotel, which I would stay at again, The Highline Hotel. It used to be an old Seminary, has only 60 rooms, and old world charm. I only wish the fireplaces in our rooms worked, but unfortunately they can’t light them anymore. They have an outstanding coffee shop, The Intelligentsia, in the lobby, which turns into a bar, with beer and wine after five. They don’t serve cocktails, so we preceded down the street to a new place, that everyone decided they would definitely be going back to, even when we left, called Moran’s! The building dates back to the 1800’s. Fireplaces in every room, and an actual wood burning one, in the main room! I told them it was my Birthday the next day, and they even brought out two candles for me, one in my sour cream for our nachos, and then later for dinner, in my lemon pie! We went back everyday for our evening cocktail hour.

Then we headed to Under St. Marks, where Morgan, was performing improv. The next day, was my special day, and what a lovely day it was. The boy’s all went back to Barclay Center, and I got to hang out with their girl’s, Ashlee, and Robyn. We started the day at Mari Vanna, which was not only charming, but the best service, and Russian dumplings! We enjoyed Prosecco, bellinis, Moscow Mules, and followed up with fresh strawberry martinis. Feeling no pain, Robyn then surprised us with a gift from Morgan, manicures and pedicures for all! We then met up with the guy’s in Chinatown, at a Speakeasy called the Apotheke. They had the best banana, vodka, green tea, and basil cocktail, I’m going to try and recreate it soon! We then headed next door, because I can never get enough dumplings, and ate at Shanghai, for noodles, and all kinds of culinary delicacies! We headed back to P.J.’s and Ashlee’s apartment, and everyone participated in Karaoke, except me, even Pete! If I have not mentioned it before, Ashlee has the most amazing voice, and really wants to turn it into a career, which I believe will happen soon. P.J., and Ashlee bought me the cutest cutting board of the whole city, now hanging proudly in my kitchen!  Pete and I went back to our little home away from home, and crashed.

The next morning, we headed to Morgan’s apartment in Brooklyn, all by way of subway, and if you’ve read my blog’s before, you know that a few years back, I couldn’t even get on the subway or elevators, and I’m not saying the anxiety is completely over, but its about a two out of a ten! The boy’s were hungry for some of my home cooking, so I went to the store and bought all the ingredients for Buttermilk Pancakes, that are here on my blog. We then ate to our hearts content, and tried Morgan’s Oculus, which is a virtual reality headset, truly amazing! Then we headed back to the city, for what I’ve been waiting for all year, Momofuko Noodle Bar! You have to make reservations exactly four weeks out, for their amazing fried chicken dinner. They had two, one made with a buttermilk batter, and the other one, Asian. Not only was the chicken amazing, but we started out with sausage pork buns, with pickled vegetables, and Momofuko ramen, with pork belly, and poached eggs. After a phenomenal meal, we headed to Momofuko Milk Bar, for cereal milk, cake balls, and cracker pie!

The following day Morgan and Robyn had to work, so Pete, P.J., Ashlee and I, all went to my favorite market, The Chelsea Market. We had grilled cheese, the best ever, and I was able to purchase a few treasures for my blog, some chopsticks, straws, and doilies. It’s the little things that make me happy! We then went back to our local bar Moran’s, where everybody knows your name, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but they really did know our names! We then met up with one of P.J.’s friends Spencer, who is super nice, and all went to Brooklyn Burger. After our tummies were full once again, we went back to P.J.’s and Ashlees’s apartment, for another round of karaoke. Pete was dragging me out of there about 2:00 AM!

We slept in the next day, and then went to breakfast by ourselves, and saw Laura Linney, sipping coffee on our way out! Around this time now, I’m definitely feeling my age, we are wiped, so we head back to our hotel to rest, before meeting everyone in Brooklyn at Tuffet, for the most amazing charcuterie. If you can believe it, all of us were still hungry after that, except for Pete, so we headed to an Italian restaurant, we had frequented before in Brooklyn, called PT, and had homemade pasta! We then crawled into a cab, and rolled into our hotel about midnight.

Just one more day I promise, so our last day there, P.J., Ashlee, Pete and I went to a beautiful park, right on the water by Chelsea Pier. We then met up with Morgan and Robyn at Mac Bar, and you guessed it, it is a macaroni bar. They have about ten 12 different flavors of this amazing little casserole, and I can never waver from the Stroganoff! We then said goodbye to Robyn, and then the rest of us headed back on the subway. We then said our goodbye’s to our boys’ and Ashlee. I always think it’s going to get easier saying goodbye to my boy’s, but it never ever does. If I know when I’m going to see them again, it helps, but if not, it’s a real tear jerker! I’m just very thankful and proud of our two boy’s and their girl’s. Not only that, but the men they have become, handsome, intelligent, funny, and most of all, gentlemen! Thanks for indulging me to tell my story, even if no one reads this, I will have it written down for my memory, when I’m old and gray, which will be soon! All my best, love, Stacey



Shepherd's Pie


Recipe from Food Network Magazine:

For the Topping:
• 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
and quartered
• 2 medium turnips, peeled and
• Kosher salt
• 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 Tbs. fresh chives, chopped
• freshly ground pepper

For the Filling:
• 4 strips thick-cut applewood-
smoked bacon, diced
• 2 lbs ground beef chuck
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 carrots, finely chopped
• 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
• 4 ounces cremini mushrooms,
finely chopped, about 2 cups
• 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 3 Tbs. tomato paste
• 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
• 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
• Kosher salt and pepper to taste
• 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley


1. Prepare the topping: Put the potatoes and turnips in a large pot and cover with cold water; season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 25 minutes; drain, reserving the pot.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling; Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain all but 1 Tbs. of the fat; add the beef to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until incorporated, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir the flour into the vegetables until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, 3/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley.
4. Preheat the oven to 375. Finish the topping: Combine the butter and milk in the reserved pot and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted. Return the potatoes and turnips to the pot and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in parmesan and chives and season with salt and pepper.
5. Transfer the filling to a 2 1/2-quart baking dish and cover with the topping, spreading evenly. Bake until the topping is golden, about 35 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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