Friday, January 20, 2012

Kristin's Kitchen: The Spin-off

I'm sure you all remember my hit cooking show, "Kristin's Kitchen."  I made one very successful episode*, and then it got canned by the network.

But now!  Let us revive the show as a spin-off!  Because I have a co-host now.  Like my hero Jacques Pepin, who did some cooking shows with his daughter Claudine.  Except Claudine was able to use a knife and presumably put on her own pants, unlike my co-host.

I refer, of course, to Cubby.

So let us begin the new show, "Kristin and Cubby's Kitchen."  On today's episode is German Shepherd's Pie, a recipe of my own devising that's like regular shepherd's pie in that it's meat topped with mashed potatoes.  But with a distinctly Teutonic tone, thanks to the sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and beer.

Oh yes.

Shall we?

We start with handing Cubby off to his daddy, because no child of two has the patience to stand and watch his mother peel two dozen small, irritating potatoes.  His mother barely has the patience to do it.  Then they're chunked up and cooked in a pot of salted water.  

While the potatoes are cooking, into a large pan goes some tallow and around two pounds of ground beef (this recipe, obviously, makes A LOT)  to get browned up, along with a diced onion.  The onion was a large one to start with, but it had some bad spots that had to be cut out, so maybe it ended up being a medium onion in the end.


After that's all browned (the meat) and soft (the onion), I chuck in a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds and some rinsed sauerkraut.  (This sauerkraut, but of course.)  I think I ended up with about two cups of sauerkraut in there.  And I rinsed it enough that I had to add some salt.  Also, pepper goes in now.  And no, I do not measure my pepper because I grind it from a grinder and I'm not about to grind it into a bowl and then pour it into a measuring spoon or something.  How irritating would that be?

Okay!  Now for the beer!  I used about half a bottle of Bud Light.  And the reason I used it is because someone left it outside after the baby shower (yes, people brought beer to the baby shower--people bring beer to EVERYTHING around here) and then it froze solid and busted the cap off.  So I had a partial bottle of flat beer sitting around.  So I poured some in.   Why not?

Then it simmered for awhile while I went to fetch Cubby from upstairs.  I could hear A. trying to answer the phone in his office while simultaneously attempting to keep Cubby away from the kerosene heater in there, so I figured it was an opportune time to resume my child watching role.

Enter the co-host!

Now the potatoes were soft, which meant they had to be mashed.


After allowing my quite willing but also quite ineffectual assistant to mess around with the potatoes for awhile, I appropriated them for the serious mashing.  

Then I dumped the meat mixture into a big rectangular Pyrex dish and spread the potatoes on top.  Then I put some bits of butter on top of the potatoes while Cubby did this:

Not quite as good as a cake batter spoon, but appreciated nonetheless.

After which he looked like this:


It didn't go in the oven right away, because it was only two in the afternoon, and we are not in the habit of eating dinner at 3 p.m.  So I reserved some of the mashed potatoes and mixed them with some sauerkraut for a snack for Cubby.

And, by extension, Mia.

The resulting German Shepherd's Pie** bakes at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it's crispy and brown on top and hot and bubbly underneath.  The mixture sounds weird, I know, but it's surprisingly good.  Cubby was very proud that he helped me make the pie, and ate a large amount of it at dinner.

He's got a ways to go before he's a very useful kitchen assistant, but this is a good start.


** When I named this thing a couple of years ago, I didn't even think of the dog breed until the MiL laughed and complimented me on my cleverness.  And of course, I pretended that that had been my little joke all along, when really . . . no.  Not that clever.


Joan @ Debt of Gratitude said...

I love Shepherd's Pie, and I love sauerkraut, so this is a win-win! I' have the day off, so I just may make it for Friday night's dinner. How great is that?

I remember the days of trying to cook with little ones underfoot. It's so much greater now they can do actual chores, like clean up afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Love it ..made me smile especially with the pictures....Mia licking her lips. Cubby should've employed Mia to clean off his face. :)
Now that is a real life cooking show. A not perfect onion, not perfect mashing, no amounts on the recipe .....YES!! Real life.

Stephanie Z said...

Sounds great and I actually wrote this down.. Now making it will be another story. :)