The Outlander Kitchen Cookbook, drawn from the Outlander book and television series is packed with mouthwatering foods … like this Shepherd’s Pie.
Confessions: I have a crush on a young man named Jamie and have a standing date with him every Saturday night.
For those that are as avid reader of historic fiction like I am, I can feel you’re ear-to-ear smile from here because you already know exactly what I’m talking about. Jamie, my friends, is the hunky, gorgeous, kilt-wearing 18th century Scot from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books and subsequent television series.
I read the books long before the rumblings of a show made it to social media and was thrilled to know that I’d be able to see a world that I couldn’t even imagine properly come to life in such a grand, glorious way. Suffice it to say, every Saturday night I’m whisked away to a rugged Scotland and introduced to sights and sounds I could only dream of.
The only things that were missing were the aromas and tastes of the period; well, some of them at least.
Enter Theresa Carle-Sanders, a wonderful woman and creator of Outlander Kitchen and the Outlander Cookbook, the official Outlander companion cookbook.
First taste? Mrs. Bug’s wonderful shepherd’s pie.
Each recipe begins with a quote from the book so the reader can see where the dish gets its inspiration. In this case, Claire and Jamie’s (yes, yes, my young Scot is married … so?) housekeeper has made a shepherd’s pie for the couple, leaving it on the table so they can eat it upon their return home.
The recipe, while still calling on ingredients that would have been available at the time, also fit in perfectly with my modern kitchen. It was easy enough to brown my lamb, mince fresh herbs, grate my vegetables (I used carrots, not parsnips) and slice my mushrooms.
In fact, I fell in love with the idea of grating the onion as a general cooking thing. Sophie’s not a fan of them and always picks them out when she sees the bits in the food. Except for this time. It might be tricky, but it works, right?
After the vegetables were soft, I added tomato paste, wine, beef stock and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
While the meat simmered, I drained my boiled potatoes and mashed them along with some butter, egg yolks, Parmesan and salt.
Since I had cooked the meat in a cast iron skillet, I decided to let that be my serving vessel (less dishes to clean) and just spread the potatoes on top of the filling.
The skillet went in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.
That whole aroma thing? Let’s leave it at saying that I just about hyperventilated a couple of times while dinner was cooking. The combination of lamb, herbs, garlic and wine were spectacular and filled the house with a wonderful warm fragrance. It said good things about the meal to come. It made me get a feeling for how Jamie and Claire felt when they walked into their home and saw the pie on the table.
The shepherd’s pie itself was delicious. For those who aren’t fans of lamb, beef could easily be substituted, but I love lamb and inhaled my serving. We all did, though truth be told I think Sophie would have preferred beef. The mashed potatoes are good, but the meat filling steals the show. It’s rich and full of amazing flavors.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
The only little thing I’d do different is to add about a cup more beef stock but that’s because we love gravy in our shepherd’s pie.
Tomato paste: $.89
Beef stock: $2.99
Yellow potatoes: $4.49
Shredded Parmesan cheese: $5.49
Red wine: $9.99
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 medium onions, peeled and grated
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- 6 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Heat an extra large frying pan or saucepan over medium high heat. Add the lamb, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, gently breaking up the lamb to cover the surface of the pan. Cook the meat, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up the meat and stirring occasionally. When the mince is no longer pink, add the onions, carrots, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for approx 5 minutes or until softened. Drain off excess fat.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost dry, then add the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the meat cooks, cover the potatoes with cold water and add 1 tsp salt to the pot. Boil the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and return to the pan. Allow them to sit for 1 minute to steam ‘dry’, tossing gently once or twice. Add the butter and egg yolks and mash thoroughly until smooth. Add half of the parmesan into the potato and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the meat mixture into an ovenproof serving dish, then spoon the potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan, and bake 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
I am so grateful to Theresa for providing me with a copy of the Outlander Kitchen cookbook. The shepherd’s pie is just one of many recipes I’ll be trying in the weeks to come.