Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Sabrina from S&S Blog

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

It's been a while since I posted a Tuesday Tutor but it's high time I took a break from me and focused on someone else. Which is a lot more fun and rewarding than obsessing over myself. Or testing recipes over and over and over and over...

On Tuesdays, I feature an original recipe from another blogger: I make the recipe following the author's directions, I snap a few pictures, I taste the result - and I share everything I love about the recipe.

Confused? Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor.

Today's Tuesday Tutor: Sabrina from S&S Blog
Selected Recipe: Shepherd's Pie
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SabrinaSpiher

My Tutor for today was my friend Sabrina from the entertaining and eclectic S&S Blog that features the musings of two young Pittsburgh women looking for culinary, literary and other cultural adventure. Sabrina is a skilled and witty writer, but what I love most is her direct honesty of opinion - you never need to guess what she's thinking which is a refreshing reprieve.

What I love most about her recipes is their rustic flavors and flexibility of ingredients - forget precise measurements or exact ingredients. Her recipes are about flavors and preferences which is really what makes ANY recipe (or cook) a success.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "I'm a failed writer and law school drop out. And I'm an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh."
  2. "I have five kitty cats, and they all have middle names of appropriate patron saints."
  3. "My biggest dream is to be a childless housewife."
  4. "I love men with crazy hair, especially my husband."
  5. "I'm a radical liberal, except I'm too lazy to actually be radical."

I have to confess: this is not the first time I've made Sabrina's shepherd's pie and that's just a testament to how good it is. I really can't say enough good things about this recipe. It doesn't require meat to be absolutely delicious, it's a deceptively simple combination of flavors that result in a rich and satisfying ending, and it's so easy to customize no matter what you have in your fridge. Who doesn't love a one-pot-wonder?

It's nearly vegetarian (and if you strip out the Worcestershire sauce, it's 100% vegetarian) - and I'm all in favor of discovering and promoting delicious meatless entrees. Not because I'm vegetarian, but a small part of me wants to be. So if you've got a drawer full of veggies and a couple potatoes lying about, MAKE THIS RECIPE! Now!

Original recipe courtesy of Sabrina from S&S Blog

Honestly, I needed to clean out my fridge, and this recipe is perfect for that

And I was itching to use my enameled cast iron

I love leeks, despite all the sandy dirt

I used three leeks and split them in halt to clean out grit

Then thinly sliced leeks

I like using a hearty combination of root veggies.
Including both turnip and parsnip

Original recipe doesn't use parsley, but I had some hanging around
So I chopped it up and chucked it in

I keep my veggies pretty small for this recipe

Who doesn't love a recipe that starts with a half stick of butter?

I love the potato topping, so I used a few extras in mine

Veggies sauteeing

For the "meat", I added crimini mushrooms

It doesn't look like much flour, but sauce thickens beautifully

I stuck with vegetable stock - unfortunately I didn't have any
homemade stock for this recipe

I added the mushrooms right after the stock so they wouldn't get too mushy

I used both fresh thyme and fresh rosemary

Happily, I found tomato paste in tube form. Which is good,
cause I don't use much of this often

A little bit of tomato goes a long way in this dish

Look at that rich color - who needs meat?

Recipe doesn't call for sour cream, but I add it anyway. And a LOT of kosher salt

Then whip with a hand-mixer cause I like smooth potatoes

You may have to add a little heavy cream to thin out potatoes
if they won't whip with just sour cream

I love that this recipe throws in cheddar cheese

Ready to bake - in my awesome Pyroceram CorningWare roaster

To achieve this browning, I turned up the oven to 475
for the last 10 minutes of baking

Mine was a little soupy. But that's because I added
too much cream to the potatoes ;)

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • You may never add meat to a shepherd's pie again - why waste a perfectly good bit of lamb or ground turkey on a dish that's already scrumptious? Seriously, don't add meat until you've tried it without
  • Make sure you salt the mashed potatoes well. I know the recipe doesn't specify salt for the potatoes, but I find potatoes without salt just aren't worth the calories
  • I think next time I'm adding pearl onions to the pie. I love pearl onions in pot pies, so why not in shepherd's pie? And if you've got it, I recommend tossing in a little fresh or frozen corn too. I like the subtle sweetness added by onions and corn
  • Turn up the oven to 475 at the end of the bake-time if you want to brown the top of the potatoes. Or I suppose you could put the pie under the broiler, just be sure your baking dish is broiler-safe

Other Run Reads from the S&S Blog
Maybe shepherd's pie isn't your thing - although who doesn't love a good pie? But just in case, here are some other scrumptious reads from the S&S Blog!


  1. Thanks for featuring my recipe! It's one of my favorite winter dishes. Corn is off the menu in my house because my crazy-haired husband doesn't like it - but I think next time I make this I'll take your sweet suggestion and use peas instead. Plus yeah, sour cream in mashed potatoes is never not a good idea.

    All of my recipes tend to read as undersalted because aforementioned crazy-haired husband also has to watch his salt for heart-health reasons, so actually, any recipe I ever make you should just assume that it needs more salt than what I'm using - at home, I just salt my own plate at the table, but others should definitely feel free to add salt. Plus, also, as you point out, all of my recipes are "a handful of this, some indeterminate quantity of that" - I want my life to be easier, not harder, so shit that takes 30 ingredients, 29 steps, and precision to within an eighth of a teaspoon just isn't for me. I'm sure that sort of thing is delicious and all, but I'll go out to a restaurant for it. (Or over to a friend's house!)

    One more thing: do I see you leaving the skin on your turnips? Is that cool? I've always peeled mine. What's the skin like?

  2. Actually, when I cook and am not busy snapping pictures or trying to document how to make something, I rarely use measures (except for baking which really MUST BE PRECISE!) Measuring salt and pepper and such just seems so tedious and unnecessary - but I find folks like precision in recipes. A sense of security.

    Regarding the turnips - yeah I never peel them, just wash thoroughly. I've never noticed a taste or texture problem and I've used them both that way roasted and in things, so I just leave the skin on. But I do peel carrots and parsnips as their skins seem to retain grit no matter how thoroughly washed.


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