Comfort Holiday Food or CHF For Short

Wow, I never thought a title could be so stupid until I actually saw it typed. And yes, it is amazingly bad so I will leave it. Then again, it does cut to the point of this pointless blog and today I am writing about an easy concoction that any dude can follow. Seriously, if you can’t make this I…I just feel for you. Turn your kitchen into an indoor pool or something because you are obviously like Ozzy Osbourne trying to make breakfast. So let’s get started on this holiday-cold weather-need a sweater-don’t care about calorie CHF for the season: Will-Bill’s take on Shepard’s Pie.

Have you ever had truly authentic Irish food? Not what you were thinking, was it? No, these folks are great at whiskey but when it comes to food in Ireland, I can say from experience, you need an unassuming tongue. But what do I know? I hail from the land of Cheeseburgers. And that being said I have turned Shepard’s Pie into just that…a mashed-up cheeseburger.

First on the list of list is to brown the meat. I always go with the 80/20 because I saw Alton Brown cooking with it on TV and if it’s on TV it has to be right. With the meat I usually add a table-spoon of salt and pepper but thanks to the good people at McCormick, they have their own version that I add to almost everything now.

McCormick’s Grill Mates have a Montreal Steak seasoning that is good on almost everything. If you are worried about your sodium level, they boast to have 20% less salt but lets face it, it’s still a shit load of salt. THIS IS COMFORT FOOD! Read about seaweed and poached kale diets on some other blog. Douse this seasoning liberally to your meat and continue to brown.

Ah, nature’s flavor sponges. I take a package of mushrooms and quarter them. Why do quarter them and not slice, you ask? I really think they are better this way. Don’t worry, mushrooms absorb everything so they shrink. They’ll still fit.

No dinner that I cook is void of these three ingredients: jalapeno, garlic and onion. I chop the jalapeno into halves and add them to the meat right away. (Don’t forget the seeds!) Next I slap-chop the garlic and onion to oblivion. God I love the SlapChop. The only thing I hate though is removing the damn skins from the garlic. But there is no way around it so I guess I will always have to do the whole smash, cuss and peel method. See below.

Alright, the meat is drained (often), and the garlic, pepper, onion and ‘shooms are added. I reduce the heat, cover  and let the mix…mix. Now go to the fridge and get a second beer. GO TO THE FRIDGE AND GET A SECOND BEER!!!

While you are giving the mushrooms time to simmer and soak in the jalapeno and garlic, it’s time to bring out the second phase. I call it “Phase Two”. We are adding one and a half cans of cream of mushroom soup (fat-full kind) and one can of drained whole corn. Usually peas are added too but a certain someone who will be eating this hates peas. I can’t think of a substitute so corn is going solo.

When you feel that the mushrooms have taken in all flavor they can we add the soup and corn, cover and let simmer for about five minutes or so on low heat. By now the smell of garlic should be chasing all vampires out of you attic. I assume that your beer is almost done so head over to the fridge and get another. If I have to say it one more time….IF I HAVE TO SAY IT ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!

We are almost there so next comes the third phase or as I like to call it, “Alpha one”. You need to bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Once you have achieved a boil, remove the pot from the heat and pour in two bags of Idahoan instant potatoes and whip with a fork until firm. Why instant and not real? Because I’m not a real cook. These potatoes take less time than Kraft Mac&Cheeze so be ready for them. And by read I mean you need to pour the meat’n-stuff into a cooking pan like so…

God, that looks like the worst brownie in the world, doesn’t it? I looks like you invited an old Eastern Euro-Bloc guy to a holiday office party an assigned him deserts to bring. He would say, “I vill bring brownies for holiday party and you vill like!”. I imagine he would look like this.

I forgot what we were doing. How’s your beer?

Now we pour the potatoes over the Bosnia Brownie (I served 3 consecutive years over there. Let me have that joke!) and spread them over the top much as you would ice a cake.

For the final phase or Phase “I don’t know, Margo” we will add an entire bag of cheese. Generally I use cheddar but when I see the word “new” on a bag I buy it immediately. Now, I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven to 375 but I assume you aren’t reading this in realtime as you cook. If you are, then I love you. But sorry, you need to preheat the oven to 375. Time for another beer or SO HELP ME! Cover the whole…casserole(?) with aluminum foil and bake this masterpiece for 25 minutes.

After all that work you should be looking at something similar to this. Wait till it cools before digging in. I feel like I have to say that for some reason. This is an easy dinner that most anyone will like unless they hate beef, mushrooms, garlic, cheese, potatoes, onions, jalapenos or life. In that case there are TV dinners.

ANNOUNCEMENT! The Practical Cook and I are challenging each other to a video review where we assign one another to holiday items to, well, review. Later today I take on that challenge and it will be posted right here. Rock on and be merry, Harry!

15 thoughts on “Comfort Holiday Food or CHF For Short

Add yours

  1. I want to high-five you for adopting “Will-Bill” as a moniker. I feel partially responsible for that.

    I also like how you managed to insert jalapenos into something that normally would feature no jalapenos.

    My local pub makes a killer shepherd’s pie, and they will also bring you as many beers as you want, AND wash the dishes after, so I will probably continue to get my shepherd’s pie from that source. But as always, I have enjoyed this top-shelf, first-rate, other-hyphenated-things post.

  2. Rev, you are absolutely responsible for that. The confusion stops now. 😉

    I love pubs but when you are forced to live far away from any decent pubs, this is my only go to. As for washing the plates I agree with your option. The cheese is a son of a bitch.

    1. If “In the Kitchen With Will-Bill” were a cooking show, I’d DVR it. All the food looks like some kind of passive-aggressive culinary assault, but deep down you know it tastes good, and the host is so personable even your midwest housewives would be squirting sriracha into their tuna noodle casseroles. Make this happen.

  3. Great post. My favorite line? “Once you have achieved a boil.” That is classic. Irish food can be bland, but you could always liven it up with some brown sauce, if you want to stay “Irish”, or some Rooster sauce, if you don’t give a damn about that.
    You should throw a lil Guinness into that mix while you’re browning the meat.

  4. Can’t eat… on a cleanse… Sooooo Hungry…!!!


    This looks good enough to curl up and SLEEP in… I am so making this this weekend- Thanks Will-Bill!!

  5. I’ve so gotta try to pull this off now. I’m pretty sure I could swing it. The only changes I would make is removing the jalapenos and cheese (because I just can’t stomach either), and using real potatoes. I’ve made up my own recipe for a killer beef stew that I cook every winter, so I’m used to just chopping up real potatoes. And garlic. Oh lord, how I loves the garlic.

    I will also remember to make the required number of trips to the fridge. Trust me, you won’t have to remind me.

      1. 2 cans of beef broth, stew beef, chopped red potatoes, half a chopped union, carrots, corn, black eyed peas, red kidney beans and stewed tomatoes. Throw it all in a pot together, mix, season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat for about an hour and a half. Of course any of those things could be left out depending on your taste. I make some cornbread with it and can usually eat off of it for 3 or 4 days or so.

        And yeah, I can’t really stomach cheese, milk or most other dairy. I can do ice cream and pizza but that’s about it. And even if there’s too much cheese on the pizza, I’ll pick most of it off. Otherwise, I won’t touch any other cheese of any kind at all.

  6. That looks and sounds delicious! I have never had shepherd’s pie with jalepenos, but damn if that doesn’t sound appetizing! I will see if this is something the wife would like to make with me. If not, maybe I’ll surprise her, because I rarely cook. WIll, you have inspired me. 🙂

  7. You Magnificent SOB- I’ve made your dish!! GLORIOUS!!!
    Before the Beef High wears off… I just wanted to say…

    Um… I think…


    (I will keep this recipe ALWAYS… You are a MAD GENIUS!! )


    1. Dude, I am glad your liked! It’s not too taxing, is it? Just wait for my Thanksgiving sides made with peppers from Hell. Going to be a warm holiday.

  8. Hi again – not to be a mad stalker, going about writing a book on every post, but as I’m reading back through your posts I couldn’t resist commenting on this one. I also hate peeling garlic – was the bane of my life until I was cooking up a storm with a chef friend of mine and she told me that you can put unpeeled garlic in a garlic grusher/mincer – I didn’t believe her until I tried it and sure enough, the garlic pushes out the other side and the skin is left inside – if you don’t already have one I’d strongly recommend you slip down to wherever you buy kitchen stuff in the States and grab one (for about $5) – got to be worth the investment – and while you’re there pick up another slab!!

Speak to me, Egor.

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