Basilton’s Shepherd’s Pie

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He shoves a casserole dish into my arms, then grabs some forks. “Milk?” he asks. “Coke?”

“Milk,” I say. I’m grinning, I can’t stop grinning. He puts the carton on top of the casserole, grabs some cloth napkins from the drawer, then heads back up to his room. It’s a struggle to keep up.
. . . .
I sit down next to him, and he takes the casserole dish from me and casts a quick, “You’re getting warmer!”—then opens the lid. It’s shepherd’s pie.

“Do you need to eat?” I ask. “Or do you just like it?”

“I need it,” he says, scooping up a bite, avoiding my eyes, “just not as much as other people do.”

“How do you know that you’re not immortal?”

He hands me a fork. “No more questions.”

We finish the shepherd’s pie, eating out of the bowl on Baz’s lap. He chews with his hand over his mouth. I try to remember whether I’ve ever seen him eat before.… I finish the milk. He doesn’t want any.

When we’re done, he sets the dishes outside his door, then starts a fire in the fireplace with his wand.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Basilton’s Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 1/2 Russet Potatoes, peeled & diced ~1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Half & Half
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, sliced
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 Lrg. Carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Ground Lamb
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Sage, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup Stock (can be veal, beef, veggie, etc.)
  • 1 Can Peas, drained

Put the potato cubes on a large pot with the salt & enough cold water to cover the potatoes, & then cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, & then uncover & reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes & then put them back in the pot.

In a small pot on medium low combine the half & half with the butter & heat until the butter melts. Add this mixture to the potatoes, adding pepper to taste & more salt if desired, & mash until smooth. Stir in the egg until fully combined.

Grease a deep pie dish or casserole dish & then press half of the potato mixture into the bottom & up the sides. Set aside for the meat mixture.

In a large pan on medium high, heat the oil, & then add in the garlic, onions, & carrots & sauté until just tender. Stir in the meat & cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle on the flour & toss to coat. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, & herbs, & cook for a couple minutes, & then add in the broth. Bring to a boil & then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes so the juices can thicken.

Heat your oven to 400ºF. Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the dish with the potatoes. Layer the rest of the potato mixture on top of the meat, starting at the edges & working your way into the center. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top has gotten a little golden brown. Remove, cool a bit, & serve with 2 forks & a jug of milk!

carry-on-shepherds-pie-bitecarry-on-shepherds-pie-bite-closeup Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 34 : Carry On

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A Christmas Carol

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Diana and Carrie discuss one of the most classic of Christmas tales of all, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol! Some of the best food descriptions of all time, pulls no punches, and if you don’t like it, Bah humbug!

Recipes

Referenced

Tasty Time

Main Episode

Intro music clip: A Christmas Carol main theme composed by Alan Silvestri from “A Christmas Carol” (2009). Available for purchase here.
Outro music clip: “God Bless Us Everyone” sung by Andrea Bocelli from “A Christmas Carol” (2009). Available for purchase here.

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Cratchit’s Homemade Stuffing

christmas-carol-stuffing“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose around the board, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah!” —A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Cratchit’s Homemade Stuffing

  • 1 Loaf of White Bread
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 4 Cups Celery (including leaves), chopped
  • 2 lrg. Onions, Chopped
  • 1 Stick Butter, cut up
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped Sage
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh, chopped Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fresh, chopped Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Cups Dried Cranberries
  • 1 – 2 Cups Chopped Pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken or Turkey Broth (if not stuffing into bird)

Toast the bread slices on large trays in the oven until just beginning to golden (if you’re putting this in a fowl, reserve the end pieces). Remove & cut into 1/2″ cubes. Put the cubes into a huge bowl & toss with the beaten eggs to coat (it’s easiest to use your hands).

In a large frying pan on medium high, melt the butter, & then add in the celery& cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the onion & cook until tender. Add in the spices & toss to coat (you can adjust the measurements to taste). Lastly, add in the cranberries & optional nuts & cook for a couple minutes more. Toss the celery/cranberry mixture with the bread cubes.

If you’re putting the mixture into a turkey, goose, or chicken, do so now & then close up the openings with the reserved end slices. Bake the fowl as directed. If you’re baking this dressing separately, heat your oven to 350ºF & grease a large baking dish. Put the dressing in & pour the broth over it. Cover with foil & bake for about 30 minutes, & then remove the foil & bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top pieces are crispy & brown.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 51: A Christmas Carol

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