There are not that many foods that can claim that a historical event centered around them but the potato can. By the early 19th century, potatoes were being grown extensively throughout Northern Europe. Potatoes were one of the only sources of food in Ireland during this time because of the potato’s inexpensive production and the poor economy of this country. Yet during 1845 and 1846, the Irish Potato Famine occurred where most of the potato crop in Ireland was ruined and this caused almost three-quarters of a million people died, and hundreds of thousands emigrated to other countries, including the United States, in search of sustenance. Pretty interesting!
Now that the History less is completed, let’s talk about another one of my favorite Irish dishes. Although it originated in England, the Irish make this dish a lot and it can also be made with ground beef instead of ground lamb but it’s always topped with those yummy potatoes!
Inspired by Alton Brown
4 large potatoes, cubed (skins on!)
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound bag mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans) frozen
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground lamb
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 can (15 ounces) beef broth
1/2 cup shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
2. Mix in butter and milk and mix until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
4. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add mixed veggies, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, spices and beef broth.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Spread the ground beef mixture in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serves 4.
Nutrition Notes: After the low carb craze a few years back, potatoes got such a bad rap but they really are very good for you! Potatoes belong to the same family as eggplant, tomatoes and peppers and they are the number one vegetable crop in the entire world. Unfortunately this is because of the consumption of french fries and what usually makes the potato unhealthy is what people put on it. Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. Make sure to leave the skins on for extra fiber and vitamins!
Taste Test: Shepard’s Pie is comfort food at its best. It reheats well and The Husband is crazy about it. It takes a little bit of time to make, especially making the homemade mashed potatoes but the result is so delicious!
How do you make your potatoes?