My younger son came home from college this past weekend and, as luck would have it, I was working on Sunday… so I decided to make an easy dinner in the crockpot that we could use for a day or two.
For Dinner #1, I put a sliced onion, two fairly large pot roasts (on BIG sale at my local grocery store), salt, pepper, and a half bottle of James River Cellars’ Rad Red wine into my crock pot. I then turned the thing on as low and slow as it would go and let it cook the entire time I was at work. **It’s ok, really…I was only working a 6 hour shift.
When I got home, there wasn’t much more I had to do before dinner was ready. I ladled out all the liquid into a fridge-friendly container (this stuff is gold… like a beef consume that I didn’t have to babysit? Awesome!) and set about shredding the beef for sandwiches. I’d already bought rolls and M sweetly went out and picked up some BBQ sauce (would have sworn we had some in the house), so this weekend dinner was a quick fix for everyone.
For Dinner #2, I started with 2 Tablespoons of flour and 2 Tablespoons of margarine. Once the margarine was melted and the flour was bubbling away, I began to add some of the reserved beef consume that I’d saved from Dinner #1. I added enough, slowly to allow things to gel nicely, until I had a good amount of sauce. I also added a splash of worchestershire sauce and some Viognier white wine to add some depth to the sauce. I could have eaten this with a spoon… turned into such a yummy gravy.
While playing with the sauce, I made a small, quick batch of mashed potatoes. You could certainly use instant mashed potatoes if you’d prefer, but making homemade seems easier to me (as long as I have a little time). When the potatoes were “mash-able”, I added some milk, margarine, and a half teaspoon of horseradish before mashing them for the topping and setting them aside.
Into the gravy went a nice amount of the shredded beef from Dinner #1. I stirred it into the sauce and then sprinkled frozen peas on top everything. Since the peas were frozen, I stirred them into the mixture and then topped everything with the homemade mashed potatoes and a liberal dash of paprika (for color). It looked so tasty!
Your Shepherd’s Pie is now made… and just needs to bake a bit. I popped the entire skillet into the oven and added a package of frozen biscuits, using the time and temperature needed to bake the bread. Once everything was done, I plated dinner for the four of us and sat down to eat… simple, filling, and really comforting.
There’s something so great about being able to turn out an old-time dinner on a “new age” time schedule. If you have a favorite from your childhood, there’s nothing better (IMHO) than being able to create it using some current cooking tips. I love coming home to a house that smells of something baking in the oven. It makes me incredibly happy to create meals for my family that remind me of when I was a child. This dinner was one of those meals.
I hope you’ll try something like this for yourself… and may the warmth and comfort of “home” bring you a few moments of peace in an otherwise hectic day.