RDJ-- Chilean Shepherd's Pie, 02-18-12
Feb 18, 2012 15:25 PST
Volume 15 Number 29
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292
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Chilean Shepherd's Pie
1 pound ground lean beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup raisins
1 onion (8 oz.), peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 hard-cooked large eggs, shelled
2/3 cup thinly sliced grilled chicken breast
3 cups corn kernels (drained canned, thawed frozen, or fresh cooked)
3/4 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 450F.
In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat, combine beef and
olive oil; break beef into chunks and stir often until no longer pink in
center and liquid evaporates, 7 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover raisins with hot tap water and let
stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain.
With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. To drippings, add onion
and garlic. Stir often on high heat until onion is lightly browned, 6 to
8 minutes. Add raisins, olives, paprika, cumin, beef, and 3 tablespoons
water; stir over medium heat to mingle flavors, 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt
and pepper to taste.
Spoon mixture into 4 individual casseroles (2- to 2 1/2-cup size). Cut
eggs in half lengthwise. Lay equal portions of chicken over beef, and
push egg halves into casseroles, making mixture level.
In a food processor, whirl corn, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cream until
coarsely puréed. Rinse and dry frying pan, then pour corn mixture into
pan. Stirring on high heat, bring to bubbling, then reduce heat and,
stirring often, simmer until darker yellow and drier, 5 to 7 minutes.
Spoon corn mixture equally over beef, chicken, and eggs and spread
Set casseroles on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, set on a rack
positioned so tops are about 4 inches from broiler, until hot in center,
13 to 16 minutes. Turn heat to broil (heat may not come on right away)
and brown crusts, 3 to 4 minutes more after broiler is hot. Makes 4
Amount per serving
Calories from fat: 52%
Saturated fat: 15g
AT THE MIDDLE PASSAGE
By Walter Mills
First Jobs: Wonder Clothes
Granby Street in downtown Norfolk, Va. had little to recommend it when I
was a teenager in the sixties. It was more obviously a navy town then,
and sailors with buzz cuts and highly polished shoes walked in groups up
and down the sidewalks, sometimes in uniform, but often in civilian
clothes, trying, without success, to blend in.
There were clubs with exotic dancers and some dark and dank-looking
bars. There were pawnshops and a couple of movie houses showing triple
features. And then there were the cut-rate clothing stores with hawkers
outside trying to lure the sailors in to buy cheaply-made clothes at
high prices. One of my first jobs, when I was sixteen, was to stand
outside a hole-in-the wall establishment called Wonder Clothes and try
to lure sailors inside.
My friend Sam was a smooth salesman a year older than I. He worked up
the street at a larger establishment owned by the same man who owned
Wonder Clothes and four or five other stores on the street. Sam was
doing so well for them that he was able to talk his manager into finding
me a job. I was given the Wonder Clothes assignment, and in the evenings
after school I would take up my post on the sidewalk outside the
brightly lit shop windows displaying cheap and gaudy fashions and look
for sailors coming up the street.
“Hey, sailor, how ‘bout some new civvies,” I would say in a voice that
sounded like I was selling dirty French postcards. And most times the
sailors, who were only two or three years older than I, would shake
There was only one other person working at Wonder Clothes, the manager,
a rough, solidly built man of forty or so. Looking back on it, I suspect
he was aware of my abysmal lack of sales ability, but he was too kind to
point it out directly. Instead he would lean on the glass counter near
the front of the store and talk to me, asking me about school, and
girlfriends and even sometimes talking about books he had read. At some
time or other he had read a book by Thomas Wolfe, and he was amazed at
how long that writer could string out a sentence.
“He had a sentence,” the manager, whose name I know longer remember,
told me, “that was two pages long. One sentence! It was about a light
I hadn’t yet read any Thomas Wolfe, so I shared his amazement. Then I
would step back out into the night and look up and down the street for
sailors disguised in their cheap clothes and highly polished black
brogans, and call to them “Great civvies at low prices. C’mon inside.”
On the first Saturday after I got paid, I took all of my salary to a
place called the Carnaby Shop in the JCPenney department store a few
blocks away. I blew it all on a green, thigh-length corduroy coat with a
huge collar that was supposed to be the latest style in swinging London.
There was nothing like it at Wonder Clothes.
The following week the Beatles were scheduled to appear on a live
television broadcast, and I asked if I could have the night off to watch
them. My manager looked at me and shook his head sadly. “You don’t take
this very seriously, do you?” he asked. “Sure, take the night off; in
fact, you don’t need to come back.”
I think I was making a dollar and ten cents an hour, and after I bought
my Mod jacket I had about eight bucks left over to show for my first
grownup job. I’m not sure I learned anything of lasting value, except
how to spot a sailor in civilian clothes, a skill I’ve never found a
need for. When I think about the joy I got out of my green corduroy
Carnaby Shop jacket, which I wore in all kinds of weather for several
years, I realize that maybe I learned that the things you work for give
you more pleasure than the things you are handed.
Later on I picked up a copy of Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward Angel” and
found some sentences that did indeed go on forever. I would have been
amazed, but I’d heard all about it already at Wonder Clothes.
Read more of Walt's writing at his blog:
(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2012 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To
contact Walt, address your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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