Mountain South Shepherd’s Pie & Pan-Fried Apples

Adapted from Victuals by Ronni Lundy

Mountain South Shepherd's Pie

Filling:

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage 
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chicken, vegetable, or beef broth
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped vegetables (parsnips, carrots and turnips) 

Topping:

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups whole buttermilk, or slightly more  

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Place the sausage in a large cast iron skillet set over high heat. As it starts to cook, break the sausage into bite-size pieces with your spoon. When you see the skillet start to look wet from the sausage’s juices, stir in the onions and cook for about five minutes or until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent. 

Pour contents into a bowl and return the skillet to the stove, turning the heat down slightly. Add the broth and deglaze the pan, stirring until any stuck pieces have loosened and dissolved. Add the paprika and salt and stir, then add the chopped vegetables. Simmer, then cover. Cook until the vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork. 

As the vegetables cook, make the topping. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the buttermilk, stirring until the batter is thick but still has a liquid consistency. Add up to another ¼ cup of milk if necessary, or if you want a creamier crust. 

Remove the skillet from the heat, then add the sausage and onion mixture to the skillet and stir. Then smooth the top. Working from the outer edge inward, pour the batter evenly over the top, making sure to cover everything in the skillet. A spatula is good for this, and for getting the last of the batter from the bowl. 

Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the batter is set, roughly 15 minutes. Optional, if your crust looks too pale: slide the skillet under the broiler for one minute, watching to make sure the topping doesn’t burn.

Serve hot from the oven.

Pan-fried Apples

Pan-Fried Apples

Ingredients:

6 medium apples
1 ½ tablespoons butter, bacon grease or coconut or other neutral-tasting oil
3 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup (or use ⅓ cup light brown sugar)

Preparation:

Core, quarter and slice the apples lengthwise in ⅛ inch pieces. 

Melt the butter, bacon grease or oil over medium heat in a skillet. When it’s hot, add the apples, stirring to coat. Cover and cook for three minutes, then remove the lid, add the sorghum, maple syrup or sugar, and toss to coat the apples evenly. Cook without the lid for another three minutes or so. The apples should be tender and glossy-looking. Let sit for a few minutes before serving with the pie.

Buy Victuals by Ronni Lundy