Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

If you want comfort, this Shepherd’s Pie will do the trick. I had never prepared a Gordon Ramsay recipe before (only stared at them in awe), and decided to take a stab at this stewed lamb pie after watching an episode of the F-Word where monsieur prepared this meal for his patrons.

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The peculiar/funny thing about his preparation is that he slaughtered a few lambs that he was rearing in his backyard for this special dinner service. Fortunately I am lucky enough to purchase my lamb in slabs, unaware of the final moments of their lives. I prefer it this way.

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Gordon Ramsay in Toronto

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If you’re like me and had no clue that he was coming to town, then join the club. Food aristocrat Gordon Ramsay graced us with his presence at the Chapters-Indigo location at the Eaton Centre. He was here to promote his new book “Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite- Recipes from the F-Word” and the new season of, you guessed it, “The F-word”. Chef was scheduled to be in the vicinity at 12:30 pm to sign copies of his new book. I thought I was making excellent time when I rolled in at 11:18 am. It took me a couple of minutes to pick my jaw up off the floor when I realized how long the line was. The line was so bloody long, that a secondary line was created upstairs. To my dismay, I was in the secondary line. I didn’t realize that there was such a fan following for Chef in this neck of the woods.

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Let me tell you, I am not a new found Gordon Ramsay fan. My affinity for him has neither stemmed from a few episodes from his popular series Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares like most people have come to know him.  Oh no, it goes back about 10years, when I was a young’n watching British cooking shows on TVO. I am the girl who grew up with Delia Smith, Gary Rhodes, and Jamie Oliver (when he was still the naked chef).  Gordon Ramsay was another, who had an undeniable talent for being himself on screen (a tough task for many) and producing dishes that were as exquisite to the eyes as they were to the tongue.

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I knew what I was going to say to him when I met him. “Marinated Tuna Salad, Gressingham Duck with Chicory Tarts, and Passion Fruit Souffle. Chef Ramsay, that menu has never parted with me.” This reference was to a show that he once appeared on, namely Friends for Dinner. He appeared twice on the series, surprising unsuspecting viewers with the task of preparing a 3 course meal from one of his books for their friends. A small tutorial would ensue, and then the viewer was left to their own devices with his cell phone number as their only  lifeline.

He is gracious, inspirational, and at the pinnacle of excellence in food.I think you can now grasp my appreciation for Chef.

Turning a bad food day into a good one

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Today was not a proud day in the land of Vijaya. I had an egg McMuffin breakfast a la McDonald’s (eek), followed by a Weetabix lunch. It’s pretty sad I know, but every foodie has one of “those days”. And if it makes you or I feel any better, I had the most fantastic gelato yesterday (stay tuned for that post!).

I wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere or do anything, because my neck and back were in excruciating pain. I turn on the TV, and low and behold I am watching one of the most annoying food network hosts, Rachael Ray. I gotta give it to this lady, her spunk and enthusiasm have put her up with the likes of Martha Stewart, but god help me if I have to hear her whiny voice spell out E-V-O-O (extra virgin olive oil) once again. Anyhow, she somehow hooked me into watching her for 10 minutes of one of her 30 minute meals episodes. I think I lasted that long because I was hungry, and also because I got inspiration (I hate to admit it) to prepare that meal. So much so, that I got ready, went out and picked up 2 ingredients that I needed.  Chicken with mushroom cream sauce, here I come!

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My version is a loose adaptation of Ms. Ray’s:

I substitute the whipping cream for 3 tablespoons of sour cream.

I nix the balsamic vinegar all together and instead opt to deglaze the fried mushroom, garlic, and onion mixture with ¼ cup of white wine, after which I add the stock.

Instead of thickening with flour, I allow the chicken stock to reduce to half, and then had the sour cream which helps creates a thick sauce.

I opted for spaghetti instead of orzo. Choose whatever pasta you have at home/like best.

All in all, it was pretty delicious, and fast to prepare!

Here’s the link :

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/chicken-with-wild-mushroom-and-balsamic-cream-sauce-recipe/index.html