Hello everyone and welcome to another brand new episode of Nikoli's Kitchen! This show is all about scratch-made food and positive energy, and this week I'm taking the opportunity to look back on some of the successes of 2021 and to reflect on some of the failures. No matter what, I want to keep learning and keep growing in the kitchen, and trying to make the world a better place. In the back half of the show I'm breaking down a recipe for Shepherd's Pie! Thank you all so much for your amazing support throughout 2021, and I am so excited for what's to come with 2022 for the show.


Featured Recipes for this Episode

~| The original Shepherd's Pie recipe I followed is from Roger at the Kitchen Counter Podcast at https://kitchencounterpodcast.com/recipe/shepherds-pie/ |~
~| The mashed potato recipe here is a stripped-down version of my own recipe from episode 19, which you can check out at https://nikoliskitchen.podbean.com/e/episode-019/ |~


1 T grapeseed oil
3 lbs ground beef or lamb
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, finely diced
10 cloves minced garlic
2 T tomato paste
1 t dark brown sugar
1/4 t allspice
2 T fresh rosemary
1 T fresh thyme
1 bottle of dry red wine (3 cups)
1 cup beef stock
1 cup vegetable stock
1 T turmeric
1 T black pepper
Salt to taste

Add your grapeseed oil to a large, high-wall skillet or Dutch oven and turn to mid-high heat.
Add your beef/lamb mixture in batches, making sure you don't over-crowd the pan (I do 1 lb at a time). Add some salt and pepper here and let the meat sear before stirring it too much. Once the meat is seared (it doesn't need to be cooked through), drain the fat and remove it from the pan and add the next batch.
Once all of your batches of meat are done, add your carrots, onion, and garlic along with all of your meat to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about five minutes.
Add your tomato paste, sugar, allspice, rosemary, and thyme to the filling mixture and stir to combine. 
Combine your red wine and your stock in a large container. 
Begin adding your wine/stock mixture, 1/3 at a time, stirring to combine and at regular intervals. 
Let the moisture cook out and then add another 1/3; once this cooks out, add the final 1/3. This repeated reduction will concentrate the flavors in the filling. 
Season to taste with turmeric, black pepper, and salt. 
Cook out the rest of the liquid, being careful not to let it burn.
Pour the filling into a 9x9" baking dish or 10" oval baking dish.
Top with prepared mashed potatoes (recipe below)- you can add some grooves with a fork or use a piping bag and make an elaborate design.
Bake the Shepherd's Pie at 350° for 40 minutes. You can also use the broiler at the end to give a nice crust to the potatoes, if desired.


4 lbs russett potatoes
6 T butter, cut lengthwise and then into 6 slices so you have 12 chunks- and keep it cold until ready to use
2 cans of evaporated whole milk OR 3 cups of whole milk 
Salt & pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper)

Peel & cube potatoes (halve them lengthwise, then again, and then chop the quartered potatoes into 4 equal-sized chunks to get 16 per spud).
Bring salted water to a boil (you don't need this to be overly saltly as your potatoes will take on the salt, and you don't want to over-salt them).
Add potatoes and cook until they are fork-tender, then drain.
Add milk to pot and bring to simmer at mid-low (you don't want to scorch it but get it hot). Turn off right when it comes to a simmer around the edges of the pan. 
Hand-mash potatoes or put through a ricer into a large bowl.
Add cold butter and half of your cream/milk and mix only until combined with a large spoon/spatula. 
Add more cream/milk until you reach the desired consistency.
Add finishing salt & pepper to taste (and any other seasonings).

Yield: 12 portions (1/2 lb meat, 1/3 lb potatoes)
Calories/Serving: 612


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Guest Appearances

I was honored to sit down with Ashlee of the Rabbit Ears TV Podcast again to talk about all things Big Little Lies! Check it out at https://www.netflixnswill.com/rabbitears/2021/8/31/big-little-lies.

I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Em of Verbal Diorama to talk about Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy and we had a blast. Please tune in at https://www.verbaldiorama.com/episode/anchorman-the-legend-of-ron-burgundy!

It was amazing to go back home again and sit down with Justin and LoySauce to review Spider-Man: No Way Home! Tune in to this very NSFW episode at https://epicfilmguys.podbean.com/e/efg-classic-nick-loysauce-return-for-spider-man-no-way-home-review/!



Intro "Midnight in Carmel" by Wendy Marcini. Licensed from Epidemic Sound. Check out her amazing music at https://open.spotify.com/artist/4CaTfk4pRkpA8A9gXamYg2.

Outro "The Climb" from Music for Makers. Sign up and get a royalty-free song delivered to your inbox every Monday at www.musicformakers.com!

"May I Have this Dance," "Ali," and "June" by Lucas King. Find this and more amazing music by Lucas and subscribe to him on YouTube by visiting https://www.youtube.com/user/LucasKingPiano!

Other music in this episode licensed from Epidemic Sound. Learn more and sign up for a free trial with access to thousands of songs at https://www.epidemicsound.com/.

Track Listing: 

"Midnight Swing" - Jules Gaia. Check out more of his music at https://open.spotify.com/artist/7GXiq6QQjWFEgHjd3TRaCt.
"Somnolent" - Johannes Bornlöf

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