Friday, May 8, 2009

Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb ground lamb
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
5-6 Potatoes, peeled, cooked & mashed
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots (optional)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Brown lamb with onions, celery, and carrots, season with salt & pepper, add garlic and fennel, and cook a couple of minutes longer. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture and mix in well. Pour milk over meat and stir until it thickens a bit then turn the heat down. Add sour cream and peas. Place in a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle cheese over potato topping, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The fun thing about shepherds pie is that you can add many different things to it to make it your own. It is a great way to clean out leftovers too. Have fun with it. For us it is winter comfort food.
Lamb Burgers

One thing we have learned is that lamb should not be overcooked, and it likes garlic. We tend to use a heavy dose with all of our recipes. The other ingredient we use with ground lamb is fennel. The Greek and Italian spices work real well with lamb.
Here is our basic 'Lamb Burger' mix.
1 pound ground lamb
1-2 teaspoons ground fennel (to your taste)
3-4 cloves garlic minced
4-6 large fresh basil leaves chopped (if you can get it) or you can try the new product in a tube found in the produce section at the store, it works pretty well.
salt & pepper

When cooking the lamb be careful not to over cook. If the meat is too lean, as it often is, you can add ground pork or other ground meat that contains more fat. We use olive oil in the pan or on the grill to keep it from sticking.Add a slice of cheese near the end of cooking, and yummy what a great burger.
Gyros - Greek lamb for Pita sandwiches

1 pound ground lamb
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground fennel (use to your own taste, it has a strong flavor)
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
1/2 tsp thyme (optional)
1/2 tsp rosemary (optional)
salt & pepper
Minced red onion & chopped Roma tomatoes to put in the sandwiches.
Cucumber sauce - see recipe below

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Shape meat mixture into patties to suit whatever you are using for bread. We like to use Greek pitas so we make patties into a narrow rectangular shape to fit nicely into the pita. We have also been known to make meatballs and slice them after we cook them. We like to cook at low heat on the BBQ. You can also cook them stove top. We brush the grill or pan with olive oil to prevent sticking. On the BBQ we found using a foil pan with or without holes is a very handy way to cook meatballs. Using skewers works well too.Now no good Greek Gyros sandwich is eaten without the delicious cucumber sauce.

16 oz sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber grated, and drained well
2-3 cloves garlic minced (more if you like a strong garlic taste)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

It is very important to get as much of the liquid out of the cucumber as possible. I use a cotton kitchen cloth to squeeze out all the water. Strong paper towels work pretty well too.Add all the ingredients together in a bowl, and let stand for at least an hour in the refrigerator. I like to make it the day before and let it sit to get all the flavors melded together.A nice Greek salad always goes well with this dishCut up Roma tomatoes, add chopped cucumber, Spanish olives, chopped red onion, and crumbled feta cheese. You can of course also add your favorite greens to this as well. For the dressing use a simple balsamic vinaigrette. You can make your own by mixing olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sugar.