A Savory Autumn Shepherd's Pie...with a 'Curry Twist'...when it's time for the 'plate it or purge it' plan

A rainy week in the Houston skies

It's been raining all week.  Down here we are quite content with this grey and blustery shift in weather.  Rain is welcomed and celebrated as we look towards what many consider the best part of living in this deep southern climate...the winter months.

The humidity has finally mounted her thin but darned reliable broom and she is nothing more than a mere dark and unpleasant outline against the rolling clouds that have been pouring in spite of her piercing cackle.

We take great pleasure in sorting out winter mitts, slipping out warm and fluffy scarves and giving knee high boots a good dusting off.  Baskets are pulled out, items sorted and one would think each item is a brand new undiscovered gift newly purchased.  Down here all of these fun and wintery accessories won't be covered up with thick shapeless coats that demand practicality against northern winter tempests.

We won't experience any wintery nor-Easters, so woven ponchos, wraps, hats, and scarves are mainly donned for style purposes.   Houstonians begin to strut their winter gear with purpose...that purpose being one mainly of style, rather than practicality against bone-chilling frosty weather.

We left town right before the "cold" front swept into Houston (cold fronts down here mean anything below 70˚... as a high).

It seems that every time we travel, I put my kitchen through the "plate it or purge it" routine.  Everything half used, tucked in the back of the refrigerator, or frozen in the freezer, leftovers come out front and center for an inspection as to their potential use or disuse.

The "plate it" or "purge it" results

Containers of soup get warmed for lunches, leftover chicken and cheeses get chopped and tucked into quesadillas and all varieties of frozen vegetables get roasted in the oven for dinner side dishes.  

I love nothing more than to repurpose  as much food in the refrigerator as possible and then return home with a clean blank slate ready for fresh additions and a new start on seasonal dishes.

For this trip, we surveyed the contents of our plate or purge items.  Patrick came up with a terrific idea.  He gathered up potatoes, carrots, onions, ground beef, and spices and began peeling, chopping, dicing, and measuring.

"Yum!  I know where this is headed...your Shepherd's Pie?"  I queried, eyes full of anticipation because that hearty dish of his would certainly use up many of the items hoping to get eaten and not tossed...and it's delicious!

Roasted okra with olive oil, salt and pepper

As I continued to clean out the few things left in the refrigerator and then gathered our hats, scarves, and mitts for the trip...he got to work in the kitchen.  

Patrick's meat pie is a hefty, hearty, work of art.  There is nothing feminine about this dish.  It is not dainty or particularly pretty but it is delicious, filling, and very satisfying.  Not only does it mean days of leftovers for us, but his face beams with pride as he slides the stout and brawny pie onto the table.  We  are sure to provide him with satisfactory and heartfelt  "oooohs" and "aaaaahs" for his achievement.

For me, in particular, it is such a treat because it is delivered right to the table...and I didn't lift a finger to prepare it!

A generous amount of thick pie crust is fitted into a tall spring form pan.  We never know what medley of vegetables, meats, and spices Patrick is going to mix up for the filling.  This time he used a mixture of ground beef and breakfast pork sausage, carrots, roasted onions, roasted garlic, and chopped celery.  

For spices, he added curry powder with a little paprika and chili powder for an added kick.  Not only was the refrigerator emptied for the trip but we were in store for a treat for dinner that night and the next...and the next!

All of the leftover potatoes were roasted, mashed, fluffed and then combined with an entire head of roasted garlic.  He generously spreads a thick layer of the garlic infused potatoes on the very top of the pie.  The kitchen smelled wonderfully meaty and garlicky and the curry spice wafted out the windows; I'm certain it could be smelled down the road.

We chuckled because we have many Indian families that live nearby and we always smell wonderful spices floating along the road when we're out walking.  This time it was our house that smelled like something was cooking from India.  

A hearty Shepherd's Pie... with a "Curry Twist"!

No editing, no coloring...the sky over Houston, exactly as we saw it

The meat pie was happily consumed for lunches as well as carefree dinners throughout the week.  The car was packed with thicker than usual suitcases that were filled with leather boots instead of leather flip flops.  Chester was crazy excited because he realized that a cozy corner of the car was being prepared for him and the kennel wasn't his destination for this trip.

Never have we seen a dog that loves a good road trip than our little Papillon, Chester. It is possible in his doggy thoughts,  he believes the entire trip has been planned with his enjoyment at the forefront of importance.  

Fall is here...kick up some leaves, breathe in this delicious air, and if possible, take off in the car, look out the window, and watch as the world changes outfits and buttons up into an ensemble highlighted by colors of sages, mosses, crimsons, and cocoas.

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