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Celebrating the Celtic Season of Samhain

At the end of October, the doorway to the dark half of the Celtic year swings open. This is the festival of Samhain, meaning “Summer’s end.” For me, it’s a time to reflect on the past year and settle in for the season. What have I accomplished? What do I need to let go? This is a time to go forth with positive thoughts and new possibilities.


I usually prepare a feast and leave out an extra plate for anyone passing through—be it spirit or flesh and blood. A time when the veils between the worlds, seen and unseen, are verra thin.


I’m sharing a family favorite. I added a twist to the recipe a few years ago. Yams! It gives the dish a slighter sweeter taste.


However you celebrate, be safe and watch out for the faeries. They’ll be forever grateful if you leave them some milk, too.

Sláinte!


Shepherd’s Pie


Filling:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 lbs. ground beef, or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons, chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups beef stock

1 cup Guinness


Topping:

2 lbs. Russet or Yukon potatoes—OR Yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter

1/2 cup Kerrygold Irish Cheddar, grated (optional)


In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add your preference of meat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl.


Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Stir in the onion and cook for 5 minutes, and onions are soft. Add the carrots, parsley, and thyme. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the flour, cook for several minutes, and then add the stock and Guinness. Bring to a boil. Add the meat, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash. Add the milk and butter. Stir until smooth.


Transfer the stew to a large casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and bake for 10-12 minutes. Preheat the broiler and sprinkle the potatoes with the grated cheese, if using. Broil until potatoes are slightly brown and cheese is bubbling.


7 Comments


Tena Stetler
Tena Stetler
Oct 31, 2019

Wow, sounds wonderful! Tuck it in my recipes. Thanks! Happy Samhain!

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Mary Morgan
Mary Morgan
Oct 31, 2019

Thanks, Jennifer! It's one our comfort meals during this time of year, too.

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Mary Morgan
Mary Morgan
Oct 31, 2019

I'm jumping for joy that you enjoyed the new story, Eileen! Thank you! I believe I "wove" this tale without realizing what I did. :) As always, these clans have a way of writing themselves. And yes, I'm excited (and nervous) about the Wolves of Clan Sutherland.


Keeping you in my prayers, as well. Hugs!

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Sounds delicious!

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Eileen Dandashi
Eileen Dandashi
Oct 31, 2019

Thanks for the recipe, Mary. I'll tuck it away for next year. Doing a hospital stay with hubby for four days. All is fine.


I'm always thinking about those thin veils and the beyond. Slainte to you, the Dragon Knights and Fenian Warriors. Your latest was really wonderful to read. I like how you not only brought forth the Dragon Knights in both timelines, but added one more new character for us to love! Always the lure of magic and loving it!

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