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Save for Balki Bartokamous, I know very little about sheep herders. But judging from the contents of Shepherd's Pie, I assume that sheep herders are a gregarious lot of heavy eaters—what with the ample amounts of minced meat, vegetables, and mashed potatoes all found in a wedge of their namesake casserole.
And judging from all the bars and pubs that seem to serve some sort of Shepherd's Pie variation, I also assume that sheep herders are big drinkers to boot—tending a flock is hard work, I suppose.
While making a Shepherd's Pie isn't necessarily as difficult as tending sheep, it can be time consuming. The "pie" usually consists of seasoned lamb (hence the shepherd nomenclature) that is sauteed along with some aromatics, herbs, and vegetables. The lamb mixture is then spread onto the bottom of a casserole dish, topped with a "crust" of mashed potatoes, and then baked in the oven until the crust is browned.
To speed up this whole pie-making process, but with an equally delicious yield, consider the Shepherd's Pie Slider. The same seasoned lamb is at the core of this recipe, but instead of being sauteed, the meat is formed into patties and studded with thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, peas, and carrots. Yes, peas and carrots in a slider!
After cooking the slider patties in a pan, under the broiler, or on the grill, a sprinkling of blue cheese melts into a topping befitting any burger, but especially so for these lamb patties. As for the mashed potatoes? I find that good potato rolls smeared with garlic aioli are a wonderful substitute (and you won't have to peel, boil, or mash any actual potatoes).
After making these Shepherd's Pie Sliders, I'm sure that you'll find two (or six, if you've a yeoman's appetite) of them are especially delicious after a long day's work, shepherding or not.
About the author: Marvin Gapultos is the author of the Filipino food blog, Burnt Lumpia. His first cookbook is due out in 2013. When he isn't cooking or writing about Filipino food, Marvin is usually enjoying a beer or cocktail, and thinking about what to eat with said beer or cocktail. You can follow him on Twitter @BurntLumpia.