Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Recipe Blogging: Spicy Hot Tex Mex Shepherd’s Pie with Chipotles and Chihuahua Cheese a la Stronger Than Dirt

I got a bit inventive in the kitchen tonight while listening to the Cubs game on WGN.* Here's what I came up with. I'm calling it a success. You can have the recipe, too, because that's the kind of good people I am.

Spicy Hot Tex Mex Shepherd’s Pie with Chipotles and Chihuahua Cheese

(serves Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss for a couple of days)

Meat filling ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground lamb (or use beef, I guess, or turkey, or other substitute)
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (or 2 small)
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 T sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small can Spanish-style tomato sauce
  • 1 small can green chili peppers
  • few dashes Tapatio sauce (optional)
  • few dashes Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • few splashes of beer to wet it (if needed, which it probably will)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I didn’t really measure)
  • 2 large scallions, chopped

Potato topping ingredients:

  • a few medium russet potatoes (play it by ear, c’mon; I didn’t weigh em)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 or 2 T butter
  • big dollop of sour cream (use enough to make it creamy without making it soup)
  • 4 canned chipotles, minced, w/ clinging adobo sauce (this is a lot; use fewer if desired)
  • shredded chihuahua cheese (about 1 cup)

The how-to-do-it:

In a dutch oven or similar vessel over medium heat, brown lamb in olive oil with yellow onion and garlic. Drain fat (I actually rinsed it in a colander, because lamb fat is kind of gamey). Add spices & seasonings, toss around a bit, lowering heat if you’re afraid they’ll burn. As soon as they smell good and nice, add the tomato sauce, green chilis, and a little beer to moisten it up. (I like to slosh the beer around in the tomato sauce can and get it all out of there.) I found that a little Tapatio and Worcestershire helped the sweet-acid balance, but if you don’t like them, mazel tov to you. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Might as well, in the meantime, wash, peel, and chop up the potatoes, add them to a saucepan with cold water, and put on the flame to high. You know, make mashed potatoes. I don’t gotta tell you how to make mashed potatoes, right? Google it if you don’t know. Anyway, get the mash going while the meaty filling is simmering. For purposes of timing.

Also not a bad time to remember to turn the oven on and set it to 375.

OK. The potatoes are cooking and the filling (or, the stuff in there thus far) has had a chance to kind of get friendly. Now you should put in the beans, scallions, and corn. Mix well, without busting up the beans too much. Taste and adjust seasonings. You might need a little more salt and/or pepper. Bring it back to a simmer and then turn the heat down to low, just to keep it warm while you deal with the potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked (test with a knife or a fork or the Farmers Almanac, whatever you do), out with the water and in with the butter, sour cream, and chipotles & adobo. Mash mash mash. Mash. Mash mash. Mash mash mash mash. OK, they’re mashed.

Grab a casserole dish and spoon in some filling. I don’t have good proportions here. I had more filling than would fit in my casserole, so I had extra, which I’ll use for something else another day (excellent). Probably should fill it about 2/3 full with the lamby beany corny mixture. Then plop the smoking spicy hot potatoes on top to cover completely, smoothing it out nicely with a spatula and drawing a design in it if you like. It doesn’t matter. Top with shredded chihuahua cheese. Put it in the oven, uncovered.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. And be careful taking it out. It’s gonna be pretty bubbly, and you don’t want molten insides on you. Use your welder’s gloves, if you have any. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

*Congratulations to the Cubs, by the way, for guaranteeing themselves at least a tie for the division title, with tonight's win over the Reds.


Anonymous said...

I would like you to spread this all over my butt.

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss said...

Careful, there, cow ... person. It burns.

The chipotle chili is not a toy.