Keeping in with my ‘2017 is the year of a slim Jim me!’ theme, my dinners are starting to take their healthy toll already (by the 6th of the month – ha!). Some foods are delicious right down to the DNA that we posses – historically, we needed fat and sugar as a vital part of survival. We still need fats and sugars, but their supply is so plentiful in today’s diets that we consume them to a huge excess. Because of this, food omitting fats and sugars tend to be a bit… Well, flat. They lack pizzazz. Building depth becomes difficult.
Tying to be creative but healthy, we decided to have a ‘shepherds’ pie. The lamb was substituted for minced turkey breast. We introduced as much sneaky veg as we could – onions, carrots, and courgette (anything more and it wouldn’t have been eaten!). I browned the turkey mince to extract Maillard flavours. Red wine, port, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, mushroom ketchup, and stock were added to create layers of flavour in the gravy. I finished with plenty of thyme and seasoning, and cooked for a while to concentrate the flavours and to soften the vegetables.
To finish and complete the dish, I added the mash, topped with a small amount of cheese, and baked for 25 minutes.
The results were delicious, but… I still felt there was something missing. Just a little something under the radar that would have added that holistic flare to step the dinner up another level. I think it was missing fat :'( But let me be clear – I was proud of my efforts, and as a healthier dinner to normal, this wasn’t half bad. I’m grateful to myself for cooking too much on purpose so I can freeze some for later use!
The question remains though – can we ever replace that missing ‘bite’??