Love, Loyalty, Friendship and Corned Beef

October 2, 2011

This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a throw back to the theme of our nuptials.  For our wedding, the Irish & Scottish theme was carried out with a Claddagh on our invitations (it symbolizes love, loyalty and friendship with hands, a heart and crown), church bulletin, etc…and is engraved on my wedding band.  My husband & the groomsmen also wore kilts, bag pipers played, and of course our large Irish families and all our friends drank a lot (you mean that happens at all weddings?).

When we wanted to have a simple and relaxed celebration with little ones running around, we carried some Irish through the weekend.  (We even painted our family room green. Not to be on theme, more because we finally got around to it, but it was a fun way to spend our anniversary).

For food, we started with a night out to one of our favorite restaurants, an Irish Pub that used to be a church (and reminds my husband of the Quays Bar in Galway where he went abroad). I had a Black & Blue, which is Guinness with Dead Guy Rogue mixed together, and fried calamari on steroids to start (it was tossed with banana peppers and topped with spicy mayo, garlic and parmesan shavings). My entree was Blackened Swordfish – very fresh & perfectly seasoned with in season butternut squash & garlic mash.

I continued the theme with Shepard’s Pie for dinner and Rueben’s for lunch today.  Here are my recipe’s for both.  High quality meat really makes a difference.

 

Shepard’s Pie (my twist on Alton Brown’s recipe):
2 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves
1 – 1 1/2 ilbs. ground beef or lamb
2 T flour
2 t. tomato paste
1 c. beef or chicken broth
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
2 t. chopped Rosemary
2 t. chopped thyme
1 cup frozen peas (can do 1/2 corn, 1/2 peas)
For Mashed Potatoes: Peel and Boil 5-6 large potatoes  (Russet or Yukon Gold), diced small, for 10-12 min. When soft, mash and add 1/2 c. milk + 2 T. butter, 1 egg yolk, 1 t. salt & 1/2 t. pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm olive oil in large sautee pan,  then add the onion and carrots and saute approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste,broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Add the peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly into baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Rubens (a reminder of how good & simple these are):

Rye Bread, buttered
Sauerkraut
Good Corned Beef
Swiss Cheese (I used Gruyere)
Thousand Island Dressing (I mixed ketchup, mayo, and pickle juice + chopped pickles it was great!)

Assemble and cook like a grilled cheese. Yum!

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