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Shepherding anew

There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.

From emerald isles cloaked in legend and shrouded in myth comes an unexpected find, an enchanting treasure of great worth. But it’s not in a pot at the end of a rainbow. Rather, you’ll find this prize in the oven. Indeed, ye lads and lassies, it’s actually a rediscovery of a timeless classic, a dear friend to get reacquainted with — shepherd’s pie.

Laughter is brightest where food is best.

No blarney, many a pint has fueled discussion of the differences between “shepherd’s pie” and “cottage pie” and why it’s even called a “pie” when the “crust” is made of mashed potatoes. Can a shepherd’s pie be made with chicken? Well, that’s the wee bit of magic you need to make Farmhouse Chicken Shepherd’s Pie. Potatoes, after all, were introduced to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Why not chicken to shepherd’s pie? Janey Mac! This is history in the making.

Need teaches a plan.

The goal of a new take on shepherd’s pie is to maintain the simplicity and savory goodness but boost the health profile of the meal. Instead of lamb or beef, this new recipe features a lean protein choice and calls for chicken breasts. Mushrooms, red onions, garlic and fresh herbs build the flavor. The top crust — in an effort to include more veggie in addition to the peas — is a blend of mashed cauliflower and potatoes.

There is no fireside like your own fireside.

Sláinte mhaith! Serve this new classic with a fresh salad and hearty bread, and the meal fulfills the promise of the toast — good health. Linger, laugh and raise a glass to everything wonderful about shepherd’s pie.

And when dinner ends, as eventually it must, these words extend a gift to family and friends: May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.