You can tell this is a way overdue post when your partner in crime glances over your screen, and goes, “Wait, how come I didn’t eat this?”. To be perfectly honest, I only vaguely remember making these shepherd pies one afternoon, after a twitter exchange revolving around shepherd pies from a local store (oh, the power of olfactory words and alluring adjectives). Suffice to say, my curiosity was piqued, and I proceeded to
place an order browse through several recipes, and come up with a just-wing-it pantry version for a late lunch for two. A disclaimer though, I would’ve placed the order had the menu not boasted cheese as one of the ingredients, and well, you know me and cheese don’t exactly see eye to eye. And all thanks to the aforementioned vague memory, this post had been hibernating under drafts because dear old me simply couldn’t quite put a fork to the recipe.
I’ve come to realise that unlike baking, where I will almost always try a new recipe as-is, or with the typical amendments to sugar amount and substitutions with what I have on hand, cooking is another matter altogether. Whilst it is inevitable that I, being the novice cook, have to start somewhere, i.e. armed with a base recipe for reference, the ingredients and their corresponding quantity can take a 180-degree turn, highly dependent on your own taste and preference. Just the other day I tried a Filipino chicken dish, Afritadang Manok, from a recipe book my mother had received, and being a dish we were unfamiliar with, it was initially not well-received, until the maestro of a mother (have I mentioned how much I adore this lady?) added just a pinch of spice here and there, and we’ve got a winner. It is then that I have taken to simply decipher a recipe, and maneuver my way around, with whatever I have on hand, and more importantly to my taste. Unfortunately, that calls for a lot of winging-it, and much less remembering-to-write-it. Lesson learnt: always keep a pen and paper handy!
What I do remember, however, aside from the vivid hue of the mashed potato topping procured by the egg yolk, is the simplicity and versatility of the recipe. Sure, it’s not exactly a 15-minute nor a one-dish recipe, but since the filling is cooked while the potatoes are boiling, you can easily have this in 30 minutes. And when you’ve got leftover odds and ends lurking in the pantry (in my case, sausages and cherry tomatoes), looking somewhat resigned to their to-the-bin-in-afew-days fate, this makes a very filling Surplus Sunday too.
Simple Sausage Shepherd’s Pie
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into four
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp butter
2-3 sausages, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
Boil the potatoes in salted water, until fork tender. Drain potatoes into a bowl, and add in egg yolk and butter. Mash until the potatoes are almost smooth. Set aside. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the filling. Heat up a skillet, drizzle a little bit of olive oil, and saute the onions until tender. Add the sausages and cherry tomatoes, and saute until the sausages are cooked. Stir in the flour and butter, and cook over medium heat for about 2 mins. Whisk in the broth, season with salt and pepper, and thicken gravy for about 1 min, scraping any brown bits at the bottom. Pour the filling into two ramekins, and spread the mashed potato over it. Bake at a preheated oven of 200°C for about 20mins, until bubbling and brown. Serve warm.