Monday, November 30. Shepherd's Pie. I've had shepherd's pie on my mind since Thanksgiving. We cooked such an excess of food that there were leftover mashed potatoes. Those are so good that no matter how much of them we made in the past, they went quickly. Mashed potatoes that have been chilled and saved no longer work as mashed potatoes, but you build a casserole from them.
The Marys went to the store while I was on the air and returned with the requisite ground round. Everything else was already in hand. Mary Ann grilled a large surplus of squash and zucchini. That makes a wonderful bottom layer for shepherd's pie, giving both an interesting texture and flavor. I think we had something like six pounds of Cheddar cheese in the refrigerator.
I sauteed some onions and herbs in olive oil, broke the ground beef into the pan, and added enough water to keep it from clumping up. Chinese five-spice powder crossed my mind, and I tapped a few sprinkles of that over the beef. Smelled good. Cooked the beef until it was done, and spread it between a thin layer of mashed potatoes at the bottom and a thicker one above it. Into the oven for forty-five minutes, and out just in time for the Marys to tell me, "You know, we're not really hungry now." Well, I ate a big cube of it. Their loss. I don't think I've ever made this better. That five-spice powder is the ticket.