Almost everything I know about how to cook came from one of four sources: my mother, my sister Patti, my Indonesian Cookbook, Pearl Buck’s Cookbook or my Australian friend Dierdre, who taught me how to make an authentic East Indian Curry. But the recipe that follows continues to be my favorite, and one of the easiest. It is my sister Patti’s recipe for shepherd’s pie, with a few alterations for my own taste. Patti, any contradictions may be noted in the comments section!
6 white or red potatoes
milk, butter, salt or garlic salt and pepper to taste.
2 lbs. hamburger
1 large chopped white onion
1 cup coarsely grated raw carrots
1 finely diced green pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
*Clean and cut up potatoes and boil until tender in lightly salted water. No need to peel potatoes.
*Brown hamburger, green pepper and onion in skillet, chopping up the hamburger into loose meat.
*Add grated carrots for the last 5 minutes or so.
*When meat is completely browned and green pepper is tender, stir in the soup and sour cream.
*When thoroughly mixed and all ingredients are hot, place in a large cake pan.
*Mash potatoes, adding butter and salt or garlic salt and pepper to taste.
*Spread potatoes over the meat mixture and place in 250-300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1/2 hour or until ready to serve, covering with aluminum foil and lowering oven if more time is necessary before serving.
*If you wish, you can place daubs of butter and/or grated cheddar cheese over top of potatoes and sprinkle with paprika to garnish.
(Patti’s recipe did not include carrots, green pepper, garlic or cheese.)
All amounts are arbitrary. I never use set amounts, so I’m guessing–as is usual in most oft-repeated recipes. Vary the amount of ingredients to your taste. The pieces hold together a bit better if it is allowed to cool slightly before serving.
I always think of my sister when I serve this dish, and those two years when I was still in college and she moved back to a house just a few blocks from my dorm. I remember many home-cooked meals and that she made the best Vodka Collins that I’ve ever had. Hers was the only place I could drink in college without being carded! Ha. I thank her for all the comforts of family and home provided during those years and afterwards when I came back from Africa and she again gave me a home base for a year until I got settled on my own.
The Prompt: Food for the Soul and the Stomach–Tell us about your favorite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations?