While cleaning the kitchen storeroom I discovered my Mom’s good old oven with a glass lid which she once used to bake cakes for us. The oven is 15 years old so I was quite sceptical if everything was fine but did a test run on 31 December by cooking a successful Moussaka ( a chicken one ) for my mother’s birthday. After the successful experiment, my mother and my cousin requested me to prepare a chicken version of Greek Shepherd’s Pie for a family dinner on Sunday night. After a good run of the recipes available online I decided to stick to the recipe posted by Angeldrawers in Nigella Lawson’s website.
( For details see http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/greek-shepherds-pie-3981) .
It was no joke to feed 7 people who has a penchant to offer you critical feedback though their facial gestures moment they bite into your dish. Instead of lamb / beef mince, I went for chicken mince( because my mother is allergic to red meat) and to give it a red colour I marinated it in red pepper sauce, a pinch of pepper, generous squeeze of lemon and salt as required. After giving it a resting time for three to four hours for the flavours to seal I went on to chop two medium-sized onions, and two medium-sized tomatoes. I fried the onions in butter (a good generous helping and no cheating on that), let the onions turn golden before adding the minced meat. Though the main recipe tells us to add the chopped tomatoes before adding the mince; in my desperate attempt to have a red colour I consciously chose to add the chopped tomatoes so that the mince would cook nicely in the juicy liquid of the tomatoes. After that it was time to check the seasoning and keep it aside. Once the meat was ready, it was time to boil the thinly sliced potatoes and simultaneously prepare the white sauce in a saucepan with a generous spoonful of butter. Once the butter started melting I added two cloves so that my white sauce has a lovely aroma. To that, I added milk(room temperature) and flour. Now comes the fun part of stirring it continuously to avoid lumps. Once it attained a creamy texture I added an egg (a light deviation from the recipe).
It was time to assemble the three components into a pie dish. For this, I strictly followed step no 5 in the recipe. I added layers of potato and mince before finishing the last layer with potato, white sauce and of course grated cheese.
After that it was time to bake. I baked the dish for around 30 min. Once the potatoes turned golden brown it was time to switch off the oven, get ready for my salad ( see next post).
While I have found joys of baking I still have a long way to go and hopefully by end of winter I will have a successful list of bakes to share with you.
Photo Courtesy: ©Aritree Dey