Shepherd’s Pie of the South
I used to live in Texas. For five years. In between growing up in Ontario and my curent residence in California. In that time, one thing that I learned about the good ole folks, deep in the heart of Texas, is that they love them some barbecue. Oh boy, do they know how to grill.
There’s a restaurant that we used to go to called Rudy’s. Their slogan is “The worst BBQ in Texas.” I’ve no idea why they say this. Mmmm, Rudy’s… You stand in line, (I have to interrupt myself for a second. I’m reading this aloud as I type and all of a sudden I’ve developed a Southern accent. What?!), so, as I was saying, you stand in line, you order your brisket, beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, peach cobbler, and sweet tea. You pick up your order a few steps to your right, and they give you about a quarter of a loaf of white bread to go with it. I don’t know why. They just do. And you just eat it, because that’s the way it is at Rudy’s.
This Shepherd’s Pie is a tribute to my Texas friends and family. It has collard greens, barbecue sauce, sweet corn, shredded chicken, polenta, and a whole buncha other stuff. You can read the recipe. I’m not going to write it all out again. I’m not a true Southerner, so this is my take on it, from my brief stint there. If I got it wrong, well, it still tastes good, y’all.
My heart feels happy right now. I’m thinking of Texas memories. What a sweet time that was in my life. I think I’ll go look at some old photo albums for a while.
- 1/2 T bacon grease (or olive oil)
- 1/2 T olive oil
- 1 T butter, unsalted
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 C corn
- 1 C (about 5 leaves) collard greens, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 t red pepper flakes
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- pinch all spice
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
- 1/2 C barbecue sauce
- 1 t dijon mustard
- 1 t maple syrup
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 1 C water
- 1 T cornstarch
- 2 T cream
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2-3 C polenta
- 1/2 to 1 C parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat oven proof skillet (cast iron works great). Add butter, bacon grease, and olive oil and let them brown. Add all veggies (except garlic), vinegar, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and chicken and cook 5 minutes more.
- Whisk together water and cornstarch. Whisk in barbecue sauce, mustard, and maple syrup. Pour over chicken mixture. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Top with polenta and smooth over meat and veggies. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, if using hot, fresh polenta (or 30-40 minutes, or until polenta reaches 165F, if using leftover, cold polenta). (*If the pan is really full, you may want to put a drip catching baking sheet under the pan just in case it overflows.) If you're using hot polenta, you could also just top with cheese and serve. It will melt from the heat of the polenta.
- 3/4 C cornmeal
- 3 C water
- 1 C milk
- 1 C cheese, grated
- In a medium sized sauce pan, boil water and milk.
- Add cornmeal slowly, whisking as you do. Let it thicken. When it has, remove from heat.
- Whisk in cheese, a little bit at a time. Add salt, and pepper.
- 1 whole chicken
- olive oil
- Line a pan with foil, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken in pan. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 375F for 1 hour 15 min (until it gets to 180F), basting every 30 minutes.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
We gave this **** (“Amazing”)