Shepard’s Pie? Are you serious? Are you living in some sort of dickens novel? All of these are valid questions, but no, I’m bringing back meat pies.
Shepard’s Pie, or Cottage Pie is a meat pie with a crush of potatoes on top. Traditionally the meat is mutton. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen mutton in the grocery store lately. I actually used ground turkey (because it’s healthier or something). I also used rutabaga instead of potatoes. In my quest to eat every type of food in the produce section, I purchased a rutabaga with only a vague ideas of what a rutabaga is. It turns out that it cooks and functions a lot like a potato. In fact, the recipe I found for mashed rutabagas could easily be used for mashed potatoes. Before potatoes came to Europe, the rutabaga was a major starch source. It is solid peasant fare, and should go with solid peasant beer. Like a delicious Bells Best Brown Ale (it even says it’s the best).
The aroma is nice and bready, with no real hops coming through. It tastes like bread , nuts, and malt, with a bit of caramel coming through. It has a laid back bitterness. It is almost savory, and melds with the savory homeliness of the Shepard’s Pie. The onion and rutabaga – rutabaga being a descendant of turnips and cabbage – add a nice earthy flavor to the pie that melds magnificently with the beer. It has a reddish-brown hue. The mouthfeel and carbonation level are both medium, nothing fancy here.
After this meal you’ll be ready to toil for hours in the field and then, when called upon, go defend your Feudal Lord.