You ever at a loss for focus?
There are those days of complete and utter indecisiveness. You have a day off and you don’t know what you feel like doing or eating or reading or watching? Yeah, me too. You pace about in your housecoat with coffee in hand and look at all the things you should/could be doing (laundry, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting) instead? Yup, me too. Now throw the looming dilemma of what’s for dinner into the fray. At this point, I’d rather just go get another coffee. Ostrich with the head in the sand choice. If I ignore all the drudge work, maybe it’ll go away.
Winter has been colder here on the west coast than I like. We’ve even had snow. Several times that nasty stuff has hit us. Yeah, I know the midwest and east coast gets it more often and waaay more of it, but I’m a west coast gal who truly believes the word snow is akin to profanity. If we could get Mother Nature to keep it on the mountains and off the roads, that’d maybe change my outlook on it. Until then, I shall grit my teeth and curse under my breath about it.
Back to food.
Part of me felt like shepard’s pie, part of me wanted stew and part of me felt like chili. So I opted to mix all 3 ideas into one. The heat element of chili with the chunky, stick to your ribs factor of stew and top the whole thing off with mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes with bacon, that is. The lightning bolt that prompted me to do that made me clap my hands together like an evil genius. One of my better ideas for sure.
What shall recall this? Chili-stew pie? Shepard’s chili-stew? Sure. Let’s go with that for now. If you can think of another name, I’m open to suggestions.
- 2 pounds stewing beef, cut into approx 1″ cubes or slightly smaller
- 5-8 pieces of thick bacon cut into 1/2″ slices
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 cup green beans cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 4 medium white potatoes (you could swap sweet potatoes or yams for another flavour)
- 2-3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
- 2-3 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1/2 cup broth (home-made beef broth is best, but chicken or veg will do well too)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (yes, you read that, sneaking extra veg in under the wire, you won’t taste it)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a large casserole dish
Peel and chop your potatoes and get them boiling. When they are fork-tender, drain and mash them with the ghee and coconut milk. I use my hand mixer as it whips them up in a flash. Less arm wear and tear. Just leave these in the pot until you are ready to top the chili-stew. You are going to add some bacon in this later.
Crisp the bacon pieces in a large pot. When they are done, remove them and put half into the mashed potatoes and stir it in.
Keep the other half aside to top the chili-stew.
Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pot and get all those lovely brown bacon bits from the pan. Add the onion and sauté until just translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the stewing beef and cook until nicely browned. Add the stock and pumpkin puree along with the carrots and cook until slightly tender. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir the green breams in last.
Place the meat mixture into the greased casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Layer the reserved half of the bacon over the top of the meat mixture. (bacon layer for the win!) Top with the bacon infused mashed potatoes. You could add a wee spot of butter on top if you wanted, but that’s up to you. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 375.
Now, don’t kid yourself, this has some heat to it. feel free to dial back the spices if you aren’t a spicy food lover.