The winter months can feel long and unforgiving, and it’s easy to fall into a food slump. This hearty pulled pork mac and cheese, jazzed up with BBQ sauce and spicy honey ketchup, might be just the ticket you need to wake up your tastebuds.
Apparently since 1885 in England, when the first mention of this dish hit literature, Ale Cottage Pie has been used to describe a beef dish covered in potato, whereas Shepherd’s Pie would contain lamb instead. (Shepherds care for sheep, not cattle). The addition of a dark ale enhances the flavours and adds depth to this simple, kid-friendly dish.
Sautee a diced onion and garlic until translucent. Add ground beef. Add salt and pepper to taste. Brown the meat. Drain fat off. Return to pan. Continue to brown. Add mustard ( 2T) and dashes of worstershire sauce.. Put in 2 pints of beer, 1 pint water (beef stock), bring to boil. REduce heat. Simmer, uncovered. Allow to reduce down at least an hour at a simmer. Transfer to Shephard’s Pie dish. Allow to cool. Add mashed potato. While boiling, put whole garlic cloves in the water – garlic will turn sweet when you boil. Add Salt, pepper, grated parmesan, butter and cream. Sprinkle salt on top. Score with fork. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 mins until golden brown. Rest 10 minutes.
What are the cooler months without comfort food? Mushroom Risotto is amazing for families and needn’t be as intimidating as it often seems. Kids can help ladle, and you and even form their meals into balls – or make a shape with a cookie cutter on their plate.
Heat 4 cups of stock in a separate pan. Make sure the stock is hot or it won’t absorb quickly enough. Chop 2 onions and 2 cups mushrooms. Melt 2 oz. butter in risotto pot. Grate 4 oz. parmesan cheese. Add diced onions and cook until translucent. Add 2 cups of risotto to the pot and coat grains with melted butter. Add stock one ladle (cup) at a time. Make sure it is absorbed each time before adding more. Add 1 cup white wine early in the liquid process. Stir constantly. (We like flat bamboo or wooden spatulas.) Taste the risotto and wait until al dente (a bit tough in the middle). Add mushrooms. (or asparagus, peas, mint). Melt 4 knobs of butter, and or 1 cup of cream, along with the grated parmesan at the end just before serving. Total cooking time: 25-30 minutes. A risotto pan makes it a tad quicker.