The Daily Bug

Cool Weather Comfort Foods

By: palmettobug53, 2:30 PM GMT on November 08, 2009

Shepherds Pie

Shepherd's Pie


Now that the weather is getting cooler, I'm craving comfort foods. You know the ones. The things your Mama fixed when you were a child. Or ones that you've picked up on your own, as a young adult, that have become current family favorites. The recipes that you turn to if you're in the mood for a culinary hug or if you're just downright cold and need warming up. Many of them are loaded with calories and have high fat contents but sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and indulge.

I stopped by the grocer's yesterday and picked up milk, bread, etc and stuff for today's dinner, which is a bowdlerized version of an English dish called Bubble and Squeak. Or a cross between that and a New England Boiled Dinner.

It started out as a more or less traditional recipe for B&S that my Mama found years ago in Southern Living magazine. Our family has morphed it, over the years into what it is now. It was me, mostly. The original version used two pots and one frying pan. I'm lazy and wanted to cut down on the number of pots/pans to wash up. Dad and SMom fix it this way now, too.

If you want the original version, just Google Bubble and Squeak. Recipes vary widely, as it really is a method of using leftovers. Some are complicated updates and others look more like Colcannon.

If you want to give my version of Bubble and Squeak a try, here it is:

Rough chop a head of cabbage, several potatoes, some carrots, one large onion and slice up one Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, bung it all into a large soup pot, add a little water and cook until done. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cornbread. You can add a dash of ground cayenne pepper to the pot, if you like. I always like to sprinkle hot pepper vinegar on it all, in my plate. Hubby uses a slotted spoon to serve his plate. I rather like to eat it in a bowl, with the "pot likker".

The original, as Mama found it in Southern Living, called for cabbage wedges cooked in one pot, quartered potatoes cooked in another and the sausage browned in a cast iron skillet. Once the sausage was done, you drained the excess drippings from the frying pan, drained the cabbage and potatoes and added them and the sausage back to the frying pan, stirring them around some to coat them with the remaining drippings. Cover and heat on the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. There were no onions or carrots in this version.


I haven't made Shepherd's Pie in a while. It's another dish that I only fix when the weather cools down. You can make this as simple or as fancy as you want. You can use pork, chicken or go veggie. I use ground beef.

Bug's Basic Shepherd's Pie:

1 package lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can mushroom pieces
1 bay leaf
salt/pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, drain excess fat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the bay leaf, salt/pepper and tomatoes. Bring to bubble. Turn down and cook until liquid is reduced.

Fix mashed potatoes.

Pour meat mixture into casserole dish and top with the mash. Add a little shredded cheddar on top, if you like. Pop into the oven at 350º for about 20 minutes, until top is slightly browned and the whole thing is a bit bubbly.

Serve with salad.

You can add anything you like to the meat mixture. You can use canned or frozen veggies. Let your imagination run wild! LOL


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Updated: 3:02 PM GMT on December 19, 2009

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About palmettobug53

WU member since Oct. 2005. I enjoy reading, crafts, crosswords, puttering in the yard, old movies and hanging out with my friends on WU.

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