Thursday, October 30, 2008

Half American...Half English

On Tuesday, Simon was sworn in as an American citizen. He is now both a citizen of England and a citizen of the U.S. The road to this milestone began almost 10 years ago when we met, fell in love and decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

In the last 10 years, Simon has undoubtably made many more sacrifices than I have for the sake of our relationship. To pack up and leave one's homeland and to start a new life in a foreign country would be a daunting undertaking for many of us.

If you were to ask Simon what he misses most, I am sure he would tell you his parents first, followed by a list of his favorite foods. I think I would make the same list- family and friends and various American foods.

When we visit England, it is usually Christmas time. Now, I know that most people believe that English food is hardly worth raving about-but I believe that there are some noteworthy items. For instance, we always have to have fish and chips at least once during our stay. English fish and chips are far superior to ours. You actually get a substantial fillet and it is served wrapped in paper with malt vinegar and/or mayonaisse for the chips. Sausage rolls, scones, mince pies with brandy butter, bangers and mash, steak and guiness pie, shepards pie, trifle, cheese and pickle sandwiches...these are all quite good. And in the words W. Somerset Maugham "If you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts". English bacon and sausages are marvelous and the cooked English Breakfast is wonderful.

In honor of Simon's naturalization, here is a recipe for Shepherd's Pie. This is one of his favorite comfort foods. Shepherd's pie traditionally contains lamb instead of ground beef. The version of Shepherd's Pie that most American's are familiar with is called "Cottage pie" across the pond.

Shepherd's Pie

1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1 onion chopped
1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.
3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
4 Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.
5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
6 Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

No comments: