Tuesday, May 23, 2006
That's Shepherd's Pie for you non-French Canadians. I love this dish - its one of those homey, simple, inexpensive go-to meals that every cook has in her/his repertoire. In my case, my father's family hails from Acadie in French-speaking Canada, and and my Memiere was a wonderful, simple cook. She often made Pate Chinois when we visited overnight because she knew I loved it, and she always put peas in it, though many other French Canadian women use corn. She also always had raspberry jam for toast in the morning, and she made the most delicious apricot pie this side of heaven!
Pate Chinois is one of those meat-filled dishes that it is very easy to vegetarianize, with no one the wiser. That's what I did tonight. I already had about 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge, so that cut down the prep time.
Vegetarian Pate Chinois
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
approximately 1 Tbs olive oil for sauteeing
2 large carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, minced
1 bag beef-like crumbles, about 1 1/2 cups
2 beef bouillion cubes
2 Tbs white wine
salt and pepper to taste
pinch summer savory
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 1/4 C frozen peas
Using an oven-ready saute pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over med-high heat until edges begin to carmelize, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and saute for a couple of minutes, then add the crumbles, still over med-high heat. Splash in the wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then add in the bouillion cubes, summer savory, marjoram, and enough water to make a bit of gravy, about 1/2 C or so. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Add the peas, mix well and let them steam. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top and bake, uncovered, at 375F for 10 - 15 minutes until potatoes just begin to get golden brown.
Notes: I don't know what brand frozen crumbles I used because I didn't have the box anymore. You can use reconstituted TVP to make about 2 C after soaking, or about 2 C al dente lentils would be good too. If you are a purist, you can always use hamburger as well! This entire meal took about 40 minutes to prepare with leftover mashed potatoes.
Serves 4 very generously as a one-dish meal, more if you serve it with some side dishes.
Dear daughter says five stars, but I say four because its not quite as good as I remember my Memiere's.