Not that you ever need an excuse to imbibe more thick, frothy Guinness (the real Irish breakfast), but this weekend, the The Caledonian Society of Arizona is offering up a pretty good one: A shepherd's pie contest.
You might think the beef or lamb pie is a pretty straightforward recipe, with meat and carrots/peas/corn in thick gravy covered with a layer of mashed potatoes. But the Internets say otherwise. Browsing through the 266,000+ online recipes, we spotted vegetarian pies, a Buffalo chicken version, and even a gross-looking vegan tofu attempt.
Think your own shepherd's pie (or cottage pie, made with ground beef instead of lamb) can put the others to shame? Head down to the 2nd Annual Shepherd's Pie Cook-Off event -- which also features a 50/50 raffle, bake sale, live Celtic entertainment and no-host bar -- from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix.
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Contestants are required to bring a 13x9 pan of their shepherd's pie to the event. Judges will sample and critique the pies on uniqueness, texture and taste. Anything goes as far as recipes -- personally, we'd LOVE to see someone attempt a dessert version (with whipped cream for potatoes and chocolate tapioca for ground meat?) that looks like the real thing.
Cost is $5 to join in the party and $5 to enter your pie. The deadline for entries is technically today, so if you want to throw your cook's apron in the ring, call Jacquelyn Sinclair at 602-336-1952 now for details on how you can get your recipe into the running. Otherwise, show up on Saturday ready to fight for a piece of the pie, as the two judges will leave lots of leftovers for you to sample. Side dishes, and desserts for the bake sale, are welcome.
After all, the crowd will need something in their stomachs to soak up all of that beer.