Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cooking with Dorie

Well, I know it's been a while.  It's not like I forgot.  And I really don't have a good excuse.  Saying we've been busy just sounds so lame and only partially explains our long silence.  I think probably it's as much about disorganization and just plain inertia.  But we're back!  And we're starting big, real big.  Why, this one post is going to have the recipes for a complete dinner party from appetizer to desert.  I'm trying to make up so you'll forgive our lapse.  Is is working?

The motivation was a Bridge night with Don and Mary Jo Peairs- and I'll just confess that I am really, really bad at Bridge.  If I were as bad at cooking as I am at Bridge, then everyone we know would beg, down on their knees and beg, that we go to a restaurant rather than eat at home.  Fortunately I'm a bit better at cooking than I am at Bridge. I had been eyeing a new cookbook I bought some time ago by Dorie Greenspan called Around my French Table and decided that this was the perfect time to actually open the beautiful book and cook.  I've often used Dorie's cookbook, Baking, and have followed her on twitter, but hadn't explored her recipes outside the desert category.  What a perfect opportunity!  Why Don might even think this cookbook was an essential addition to my already embarrassingly large cookbook collection!

Now before I get to Dorie, I will mention the simple- I mean really simple appetizer.  So simple in fact it hardly needs a recipe at all.  We started with Baked Brie with Apple Butter (homemade Apple Butter of course!).


One round disk of Brie (I used one cut into wedges but you could use a single round)
Apple Butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the Brie through the middle horizontally.  Spread apple butter on the bottom layer and then top with Brie and spread apple butter on the top layer.
Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve with toast points or crackers.

See, I told you that was simple, real simple.

But now we get to Dorie, and the rest of the menu is straight from Around my French Table.

4 beets
1 small red onion
Mixed greens (or you could use arugula- THE green of this season)
Goat cheese- crumbled

1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp of honey
1 tbsp of sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar because it's what I had on hand)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp of minced fresh herb (I used thyme)
Salt and Pepper

I use the Mark Bittman method for preparing the beets. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut off the greens and the tail of each beet and wrap separately in aluminum foil.  Cook for 45- 60 minutes depending on size of beet- you can tell it's done when a sharp knife pierces it easily.  Cool the beets in the aluminum foil.  These can be made a day ahead.  Unwrap the cooled beets and remove the skin under cold running water.  The outer skin will come right off.  Cut off the spot where the leaves were attached, and then dice the beets into small chunks.
For the red onions Dorie suggests soaking the onion slices in ice water to give them crunch.
Mix the dressing (I love to use my stick blender for mixing the salad dressings!).
Place a handful of greens on each plate, top with the red onions, then the beets and finally the goat cheese.  Drizzle with the dressing.

1 whole chicken- 4-5 pounds (usually a hen instead of a fryer)
Olive oil
2 thick slices of bread (I used ciabatta)
2-3 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and oregano
1 garlic head, cut in half horizontally, leaving the head intact, removing only the very outer peel
2/3 cup of white wine (you can substitute chicken broth if you like but we always seem to have more wine around than chicken broth)
1 large onion
8 small red or white potatoes, cut into wedges
4 carrots, cut into big chunks
2 parsnips, quartered

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  (It's real important that the oven temperature is correct or the cooking times will be off.  My oven is 25 degrees cooler than the temperature I set it at so I actually set mine to 475 degrees.)

Rub the inside of a dutch oven liberally with olive oil. (I lined the bottom with aluminum foil the second time I prepared this chicken to aid the clean up.) Place the bread in the center of the pan.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Stuff the chicken with 1 quarter of the onion, 1/2 of each of the herb springs and the chicken liver if the butcher leaves it with you.  
Put the chicken in the pot on the bread, breast side up.  Pour a few tbsp of Olive oil over the chicken and pour in the wine. Place the remaining onion and herbs around the outside of the chicken. 
Cook covered for 50 minutes.
Toss the vegetables with olive oil until they are all glistening and then salt and pepper.
Add the vegetables to the pot and cook for 40 minutes more.
Check the chicken- the skin should be crackly and crisp and the leg should move easily.
Remove from the oven.  Let the chicken "rest" for 5-10 minutes.



I love this cake!  I mean really love this cake!  It's really apples with a bit of cake and WOW! It is so good we didn't even give any away to the neighbors- and in fact I baked another one two days later for Sarah and the kids just to have another piece!

3/4 cup of flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples- mixed variety- I used one Cortland, one Granny Smith, one Gala and one Red Delicious

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp of dark rum
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
8 tbsp of butter, melted and cooled.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (in my oven this is 375)
Grease and flour an 8 inch springform pan.
Core, peel and cut into 1-2 inch chunks.  I love to use our apple peeler.  It makes the apple prep job so easy (and I might mention it is a sure way to entertain grandchildren- and get them to eat apples as well). Dorie loves the idea of using a variety of apples.  This adds both interesting texture (some will cook softer than others) and also interesting flavor (some are sweet, some more tart).  After eating this cake I am a firm believer in "mixing it up" with the apples in a recipe!

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in small bowl. 
Whisk the eggs until they are foamy (I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer).
Pour in the sugar and whisk until blended.  Whisk in the rum and vanilla.
Whisk in half of the flour and when blended add half of the butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and finish with the remaining butter.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the apples. Make sure that all of the apples are covered with cake batter.
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly in the pan.
Place the pan on a cookie sheet (mine leaked  a bit so I was glad this was on a cookie sheet rather than the bottom of my oven) and bake for 50-60 minutes.  The cake is done when a knife inserted comes out clean. 
Place on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.
Carefully remove from the edges of the pan.  I had placed parchment paper on the bottom of the pan so it was easy to slide onto the serving platter.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  We served with Caramello with Sea Salt Gelato.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Grama's Bolognese Sauce

There are as many Italian Bolognese Sauce recipes as there are Italian Grandmothers; and as many as there are Italian chefs, just including those in the United States. When you talk of all the recipes written in English we're talking ad infinitum.  Bolognese Sauce belongs to the Ragu family and originates in Bologna, Italy.  In fact in Bologna, Italy, it's not called Bolognese Sauce at all, but rather Ragu Sauce.  Ragu was introduced into the Italian cuisine in the late 18th century following the Napolean invasion in 1796 with the subsequent control of northern Italy by the French.  So though Bolognese is decidedly Italian, it's roots actually originated in France before the Italians made it their own.  The French do love their sauces! Bolognese (Ragu) Sauce is a meat based sauce for pasta- and of course the variations are endless. Prior to the French Napolian occupation, the Italians ate their pasta in a broth- not a sauce.

My search to find a Bolognese Sauce to call my own was rather a search for efficiency. I know, I know, I know- that sounds a whole lot more like Don than it does me- but he does seem to rub off on me over time.  And our family is EXPANDING!  Why with 7 children and 8 soon to be 9 grandchildren (and I predict this number will go higher) what we need is an Italian Grandmother who can cook for a crowd.  Well I'm certainly not an Italian Grandmother, but all of the kids and grandkids are just going to have to live with what they have.  

But back to the efficiency search.  When the kids and grands come to town there is plenty of preparation to do which doesn't leave much time for yet another search for a Bolognese Sauce recipe to use.  Besides I really want a recipe that's mine- the same recipe that is mine every time they come for a visit!  This one is it!  So let's gather the ingredients and start cooking!

Grama's Bolognese Sauce: adapted from multiple sources though I'd like to give special credit to Johanna, originally from the Philippines, now residing in Chicago.  You can find her here.  There's a bit of an Italian Grandmother in us all!


2 pounds of ground Italian Sausage 
1 pound of ground lean beef
1/4 pound of Prosciutto, sliced into small strips (you can substitute bacon)
(Of course I get ours from our local meat market!)

2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, sliced thin
8 cloves of garlic, minced (we really, really like garlic!)
3 carrots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1/2 fennel, diced
1 cup of minced parsley, (add late in the cooking)

 2 large cans of diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp of tomato paste
1- 2 Tbsp of anchovy paste, optional

1/2 cup of sweet red wine
1/4 cup of heavy cream, (also called "whipping cream"), Optional
1 to 1 1/2 cups of broth to desired thickness, (I use vegetable, but could use chicken or beef.)

3 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning or combination of basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  (I use "dry" rather than "fresh"- but in summer I'd use the fresh from our garden.)
1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes, (use more or less depending on how much "heat" you want in final dish)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Brown the meats in a large Dutch Oven. I love, love, love my cast iron with an enamel coating!
Drain the grease off and remove the meat from the pan.

Heat the olive oil in the pan.  
Add onions and celery and fennel.  Cook until onion is glistening in color.  
Add in the garlic, carrots, peppers.  Cook until slightly softened.  Return the meat to the pot. 
Add the seasonings. 
Add the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste, anchovy paste and the sweet wine.  
Add enough broth for desired thickness.  Save the broth because you'll probably want to "thin" a bit as the liquid cooks away.
Bring the mixture to a light boil and then lower the temperature until the sauce is barely simmering. Cover the pot during cooking.

Cook for at least 2 hours- though don't hesitate to simmer up to 4 hours- just don't let it get dry and burn on the bottom, as this would totally ruin the taste! You can also cook in an oven heated to 300 degrees if this works better for you. Again the pot needs to be covered!
Add the cream and the parsley at the end of the cooking.  The cream will give it a slightly "pink" color- typical of Bolognese Sauces.

You can serve with the pasta of your choice.

Or if you'd like fry up Polenta...

And serve on top of this. 

I like mine with a good bottle of Chianti!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Harvest: Pickled Asparagus!

It is spring in Ohio.  In fact it has been spring in Ohio for quite a while now, even when it really should have been winter. But the weather has been like that this year.  Spring means Asparagus! I've read that it's been around for better than 20,000 years and that the Romans were even known to haul it up into the Alps to freeze it for use when it wasn't in season.  It's even rumored that it's an aphrodisiac which might help explain why "a young man's fancy turns to love...". 
I find that I start looking for it at the market when the weather turns just a wee bit warmer and the days a wee bit longer.  It's absolutely traditional to serve it at Passover- or Easter- along with "spring lamb" or "spring chicken". I like it roasted- or grilled- or even shaved raw for a salad.  It's perfect in a stir fry- or a pasta- on pizza- or in an omelet.  And even though you can usually get asparagus in other seasons besides spring, given our propensity for hauling our food from one corner of the world to another, it's just never the same as it is in the spring. But no matter how much you love asparagus there is only so much you can eat in any given spring.  
So why not "pickle" it for use year round!
Now I have to admit that until I met this beautiful woman, Don's Mom, my wonderful Mother-in Law and Grandma Lucas to 2 generations of children,

I thought that pickles were only something that came sliced in a jar to be used on a hamburger.  I was wrong!  Real wrong!  Now Mom didn't pickle asparagus, she pickled okra.  But we live in Ohio not Oklahoma and the okra we get is puny to say the least!  We did drive to Oklahoma one summer and brought back a half bushel or so of okra to pickle- but it's a long drive to Oklahoma just to buy okra and we have plenty of asparagus right here in Ohio.  Besides some of our children- and children-in-law- have more "northern roots" and prefer the asparagus to the okra.  As for me, Mom's pickled okra will always have the place of honor as far as I'm concerned. But back to the point. It's spring and there's plenty of asparagus to be had!

So let's get to pickling! Let's gather the ingredients.  Asparagus to be sure...

And vinegar (white) and pickling salt...

And of course the spices you plan on using. You can be real creative here because I'm not sure there is any spice that you can't tuck into the jar when you're pickling.   We like Garam Masala...

But let's get to the details of this process!

Pickled Asparagus: Adapted from the Pickled Okra recipe from Nita Lucas, my Mother-in-Law. You can also get more details on "pickling" from the book The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie. I picked my copy up at the Bennington Bookstore in Vermont one summer and it is terrific.  I highly recommend!

Asparagus- about 1 pound for each pint jar you intend to pickle if you want each pickle to have the pretty asparagus crown.  We use the bottom half as well so we can get 2 pints out of about a pound.  Of course if you have asparagus left over, it's no problem because you'll have plenty of ways you can use it!

2 cups of white vinegar for every 4 pints of pickled asparagus.
2 cups of water for every 4 pints of pickled asparagus.
2 Tbsp of pickling salt for every 4 pints of pickled asparagus.

For each pint jar:
2 whole cloves of garlic
2 dried red peppers
2 Tbsp of whole seed Garam Masala

Break the tough ends off the asparagus.  Now cut the asparagus into lengths about 3/4 inch below the surface of the pint jar.  Place the asparagus in the jars, pretty side up!

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to boil.  Boil until all the salt has dissolved and then about a minute more. 

Add the garlic cloves, peppers and Garam Masala to the jars with the asparagus.  

Using a pickling funnel pour the vinegar, water, salt solution into each jar leaving about 1/2 inch on top.  A pickling funnel is a wide mouth funnel and sure makes the pouring easier! You can see one here.

Place the lid disk on each pint and then screw on the lid band- be careful and don't tighten too much.  Stop when you'd have to add even the tiniest bit of force to close tighter.

Bring a big pot of water to a roaring boil.  When the water is boiling vigorously add each jar to the "canning bath".  It's helpful to have canning tongs

Leave the jars in the "bath" for 10 minutes and then remove.  You'll hear a little "pop" when the jar seals.  Check each jar to make sure it's sealed (you'll feel a very slight indentation in the middle of the lid).  

Store the jars in a cool, dark (not in direct sunshine) place.  Since we live in Ohio our house has a basement and that's where we store them.  Though the "book" says they last a year, we've kept ours longer than that.

I serve them "plain"...

Or chopped into deviled eggs (make sure and use the "juice" as well as the asparagus).


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ethiopian Doro Wat- My Way: Chicken or Tofu with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

The first time I had African cuisine was in San Francisco with Don about 19 years ago.  Our good friend from high school, Steve Sizemore, took us to an Eritrean Restaurant.  Now I have to tell you there were not ANY African restaurants in Oklahoma and I'd never heard of Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa just north of Ethiopia.  In the 25th century BC, the ancient Egyptians called the small country "Punt", meaning God's Land.  Many scientists believe that it is from Eritrea that the first anatomically modern humans first began to "scatter" to the ends of the earth.  The second time I had African Cuisine was at an Ethiopian restaurant in Washington DC- with Don of course!  Because Eritrea borders Ethiopia now- and in fact was part of Ethiopia for 40+ years ending only after a 30 year civil war that ultimately resulted in the independence of Eritrea- the cuisines are very similar.

The recipe we're cooking this blog is a very loose adaptation of "Doro Wat"- that translates into Chicken Stew.  This recipe actually adapts easily for a vegetarian dish using tofu so we're going to include that as well.

Now I would like to comment- to any that have not actually had the pleasure of dining on fine Ethiopian Cuisine- that this is a very loose adaptation.  Genuine Ethiopian Cuisine is cooked to a consistency that enables it to be "pinched" with a sourdough pancake called an Injera rather than eaten with a fork or spoon. You'll definitely need a fork for our adaptation. Also Doro Wat is always with chicken- not tofu- nor with any vegetables.  Like I said I took many liberties.  I think you'll love it!

One more thing to note before we start cooking.  This recipe calls for a spice seed, Fenugreek, that I'd never used- and in fact had to order from "Amazon" since my local sources didn't carry it.  I even tried an African grocery store -(this store from the west side of Africa- Senegal) without success.  But I was determined!  I must tell you that Fenugreek has a reputation for many magical qualities.  It has been know to increase libido by 25%, increase lactation, control diabetes, and decrease arthritis pain.  It will forever be our secret whether or not we had any "health" benefits, though I can assure you that neither of us are lactating!  Don says he couldn't tell the difference in the taste so it is certainly an optional ingredient.  

But enough of that- let's gather the ingredients and start cooking!

Doro Wat for Four: Very loosely based on the Doro Wat in  A Spicy Perspective

4 Chicken Breast, cubed
1 package of Firm Tofu, cubed

4 Tbsp of Olive Oil

3 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups of Green Beans, ends removed and cut in half
1 large Onion, diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 stick of Butter
1/2 cup of Red Wine
3 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
(If the mixture is too "dry" add water a little bit at a time.)

1 tsp of Salt
1/4 tsp of ground Red Pepper
2-4 Tbsp of Garam Masala (essential!), can use ground or whole seed (I used a combination of both.  I used whole seed when I roasted the sweet potatoes and used ground for the tofu and for the sauce.)
1 tsp of Cardamon
1/2 Tbsp of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tbsp of Thyme
1 Tbsp of Sugar
2 tsp of Fenugreek seeds, optional


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  
Toss sweet potatoes in 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of whole seed Garam Masala.  Place in single layer on aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, turning after 15.

Toss Tofu, very carefully so it doesn't crumble, with 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp of ground Garam Masala and ground red pepper. Adjust amount of red pepper to personal taste. Roast for 40 minutes turning, carefully, after 20.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large skillet.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add chicken (if using) and brown.  Add garlic.  Next add butter, wine and tomato paste.  Now add the spices, Garam Masala (ground), Cardamon, Fenugreek, Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes and Sugar.  

Mix well.  Add the green beans.  It is at this point you could add water if mixture too dry.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until green beans are cooked.

Add the sweet potatoes (and Tofu if using rather than chicken).  Heat thoroughly.

Serve with brown rice.

Doro Wat with Chicken:

Or Tofu:

Invite the neighbors to join:


Monday, April 9, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner: American Waffles!

Waffles originated sometime in the Middle Ages in what is now Belgium. They were thin wafers cooked on a "wafer iron" heated in the fire. They arrived to the colonies in the New World in the 1620s with the Dutch Pilgrims. It is even known that Thomas Jefferson bought a waffle iron in France during his long stay there during the Revolutionary war working to get the French on board for our new war against the English. Waffle parties were popular in those early times!  

Now the Belgium Waffle didn't actually arrive to America until the Century 21 Expo in Seattle, Washington in 1962 and then again in 1964 at the World's Fair in New York City. I actually went to this World's Fair in NYC during the summer of "64.  I don't remember the Belgium Waffles- but I do remember the Italian Gelato- and I have been in love ever since!  
Belgium Waffles use yeast- and have to be "started" the day before.  Well, we all know about the impatience of the New World so we like our waffles quick- none of that yeast for us.  We use baking powder- just like we do in our pancakes and our biscuits and our cornbread!  And baking powder is fast!

So let's gather our ingredients!

American Waffles for Two: Adapted from The Best of Waffles and Pancakes, A Cookbook By Jane Stacey


Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup of White Flour
1/4 cup of Pastry Wheat Flour (don't use regular wheat so just substitute white flour if you don't have Pastry Wheat- regular wheat flour won't give you the texture you're looking for!)
2 Tbsp of Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
1/8 tsp of Cardamon

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 stick of Butter (1/4 cup), melted
3/4 cup of Buttermilk
2 Eggs, Separated

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees to "hold" the cooked waffles while they wait for you to cook the remainder of the waffles.

Mix the dry ingredients together well.

Whisk the melted butter, the buttermilk and the egg yolks together.

In your stand mixer (you can do this with a hand mixer as well but it is really, really, really easy with a stand mixer!), whip the egg whites to "firm peaks".  (This means that when you lift the blades the egg whites form gentle peaks that stay gentle peaks. Soft peaks dissolve back into the other egg whites while stiff peaks are very "pointy".)

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.  Then using a rubber spatula gently, very gently, add the egg whites to the mixture.  Don't overdo this part because this is what give waffles the "lightness" that pancakes don't have.

Heat your waffle iron per instructions.  Pour 1/2 cup onto the waffle iron. This amount will vary from iron to iron so read the manufacturers instructions. If the batter is too "stiff" to pour add more buttermilk a little at a time.

Remove the waffle when the "beep" sounds...

And place on the rack of the preheated oven. Don't use a cookie sheet or the bottoms of the waffles will get soggy!

Serve with butter and maple syrup!

Or you can serve with berries and whipped cream!

Or you can even add 1/2 cup of "mashed" blueberries to the batter- and then top with blueberries for Blueberry Waffles!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Cottage Pie for the Irish! (Includes Vegetarian Option)

I know, I know!  It's been quite some time since St. Patrick's Day and the first time I made this Cottage Pie.  But we've been busy cooking - and a bit of other "stuff" as well since then- and the time just seemed to zoom by.  But we're ready now!

But before we talk Cottage Pie- and the Irish- let's talk POTATOES! Wild strains of potatoes have grown through out the America's for many thousands of years.  They were "domesticated" for use as food by the Inca Indians in the Andes sometime between 8000 and 10,000 BC.  So potatoes have been around for a long, long, long time!  They were introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the later part of the 16th century after the Spanish conquest of the Inca nation.  They soon became popular in all of the European countries. Though initially primarily eaten by the wealthier member's of these countries it eventually became a main crop of the poor- especially in Ireland.  The potato could be grown on very small plots of ground- and often was the single crop for the poorest of the farmers.  Eventually it was the Potato Blight in1845 with resulting famine that created the largest migration of the Irish to the "New Country"  causing over a million of the Irish people to die and another million to immigrate to the new world.  When the Spanish brought the potato from the Inca's in the mid 1600's, they neglected to bring but one variety even though there were thousands that grew in the Andes.  This lack of biodiversity made the potato more vulnerable to disease which resulted in the Potato Famine 200 years later.  

Now to Cottage Pie!  The term Cottage Pie is known to have been in use since 1791.  It referred to the use of left over meat in a "pie" that had as it's crust the mashed potato.  This name predates the name "Shepard Pie" which is the same as a Cottage Pie but uses lamb.  The meat in Cottage pie can be practically anything- fish, beef, lamb, chicken- though most often it is beef or lamb! The name probably originated in England or Scotland but since the new world was introduced to this by the large Irish immigration to this country it seems so very, very Irish!

Now most often Cottage Pie has as it's topping the mashed potato- but then Don particularly doesn't like mashed potatoes layered across anything- likes his straight up with gravy on top sitting next to the meat.  I'm not sure I'd ever made Cottage Pie.  But then we were having company on St. Patrick's Day and though the desert selection was easy- Bread Pudding with an Irish Whiskey Sauce (now that is really, really, really good- I'll show you how to make some day!), it was a bit harder to decide on the entree.  And then I had it- Cottage Pie- with lamb!  I went on the search for recipes!

Let's get started cooking- so gather the ingredients!

Cottage Pie: adapted from Anne Burrell of the Food Network and Martha Stewart


Pie Filling:
2 tbsp of olive oil
3-4 pounds of lamb or beef, cubed (The amount of meat depends on how much meat to vegetables you want your pie. You may also use 6-8 cups of a mixed variety of mushrooms if you'd like a vegetarian option.)
2 large leeks, sliced in thin cross sections
3 stalks of celery, diced
3-5 carrots, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1 cup of red wine (I used a Spanish Red in tribute to the Spaniards who brought the potato to Europe)
2-4 cups of vegetarian broth as needed for desired consistency
1 tbsp Anchovy Paste (My secret ingredient!)
Thyme, fresh tied in a cheesecloth bundle
2 Bay leaves
Salt/Pepper to taste (start with a tsp of each and increase to your taste)
1 cup peas, added at the end
Flour and Cream to thicken after Filling has cooked if needed.  (I didn't need the first time so didn't add- I did the second and used 1/4 cup of flour blended with 1 cup of cream- I put the flour and cream in a small bowl and used a stick blender- and then added to filling. You could substitute milk if you didn't have cream on hand.)

Pie Topping:
2 baking potatoes, very thinly sliced. (We used a mandoline.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Dry meat with a paper towel.  
Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven and add the lamb when oil is hot. Brown on all sides. 
Add the leeks and cook until softened.  
Next add the celery and carrots and garlic and soften for approximately 5 minutes.  
Add in tomato paste and wine- Spanish for us!

Add the broth to desired thickness. Bring to gentle simmer.
Place in oven and leave unattended for 3 hours.  I checked every hour for desired doneness of the lamb.  I used a fork- and wanted the meat cooked well enough so that the fork prongs could easily pierce the meat. I was also checking that there was still enough liquid in the pot- add more broth if the filling is getting too dry.
Remove from oven when meat is done.  It is at this time that you add the flour/cream if the meat filling is too thin for the pie. You can let the filling "rest" covered on the top of the stove until you're ready to put the pie together.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pie filling in a shallow baking dish (9x13). Top with the sliced potatoes.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes- until the top is nicely browned!