The Flavors of Ireland are Easy as Pie!

Once again, we find ourselves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Here in the Ohio Valley, most of us have at least a smidgen of Irish blood flowing through our veins. But on March 17, we all tend to be sons (or daughters) of Erin.

One of the classic recipes in Irish cuisine is Shepherd’s Pie. The origins of this simple comfort food are unclear, though by most accounts it originated on Great Britain, as a simple dish to utilize leftover meats (the term Shepherd’s Pie seems to have come from Northern England and Scotland, where there are large numbers of sheep). What’s the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie? The type of meat. Shepherd’s pie is typically made with lamb. Cottage pie is typically made with beef.

Although recipes similar to Shepherd’s pie have existed for centuries, it wasn’t until potatoes became a common staple in the 1700s that the dish took on its current form. Prior to that, most recipes utilized a pastry crust, rather than potatoes.

Although this recipe is a simple, basic dish to prepare, having CVap® equipment at my disposal made it so much easier. And the results were delicious!

Plated Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup green peas
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 oz beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1.5 lbs ground lamb

Bake potatoes in a CVap RTV Retherm Oven At 200 air / 250 vapor (legacy setting 200 +50) for 35 minutes.

Prepare cream and butter mixture for mashed potatoes.

Sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic and carrots. Simmer until carrots begin to soften, then add ground lamb. Stir occasionally, until lamb is completely browned. Add peas and corn. Season with salt & pepper.

Mashed potatoes – add cream butter mixture to cooked potatoes and mash, add salt & pepper, once completely mashed, stir in egg yolk.

Move cooked veggie-lamb mixture to dish, and dollop mashed potatoes throughout, then spread potatoes over the top of lamb and vegetables.

Bake for 30-35 min in CVap Retherm Oven at 180 Vapor, 330 Air(189 + 150 for legacy CVap Retherm Ovens).

Potatoes party

The results were satisfying and delicious; simple, savory flavors that were just the thing to warm a chilly March afternoon.

There are countless variations of this basic recipe. Shepherdess Pie is vegetarian. Cumberland pie adds a breadcrumb or pastry crust. Some recipe call for turkey or ham as the protein. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

To make it a proper St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I suggest a Bordeaux, a complex wine that goes great with a dish like shepherd’s pie. Its earthy and savory flavors will match well. Pinot noir is another great pairing. It’s bright and easy to drink, and will match up well with the sweet vegetables in this dish.

If you are like me, and are more a beer person, a nice dry Irish stout should pair really well!

CVap Pineapple Chinese Five-Spice Pork Riblets

Pineapple Chinese 5-Spice Riblets

Happy New Year! 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

The Year of the Dog is nearly upon us. Though commonly thought of as Chinese New Year here in the US, it’s a holiday celebrated by much of the Asian world, and nearly a fifth of the planet’s population.

Like any good holiday, an important part of the it is sharing good food with family and friends. In that spirit, we’d like to pass along this recipe to you. It’s an amazing rib recipe shared with us by Chef Chas Tatigian of Twin Eagles Golf and Country Club. Chef Tatigian created this recipe specifically to showcase one of his CVap techniques, and this one – involving a slow braise under vacuum seal – is a real winner!

If you like what you see, let us know and tell us how you CVap!

RUB FOR THE RIBS (enough for approximately 4-5 Danish racks)

  • 1/2 Part Ground Coriander
  • 1 Part Allspice
  • 1 Part Chinese 5 Spice
  • 4 Parts Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne to taste


  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Bacon Fat
  • 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 ¼ Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Roughly Chopped Scallion
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic


  • Liberally rub ribs and let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  • Char ribs on hot grill and refrigerate.
  • When cooled, slice ribs into pieces leaving a little meat on both sides of the rib bone and bring to room temperature.
  • Combine ingredients for cooking marinade (this is enough for 4-5 Danish racks).
  • Heat the cooking marinade to approximately 100° to melt sugar and fat.
  • Place room temp ribs in a vacuum bag and put enough warm marinade in to cover ribs.
  • Seal bag at 90% to 95% vacuum.
  • Cook ribs in CVap Cook & Hold oven at 135/0 for 32 hours.
  • Cool bags in ice bath to use at later date OR, to use immediately, remove liquid and flash-roast bare ribs at 400°F until a little crisp, garnish with diced grilled pineapple and green onions, cut on a long bias.

Chef Tatigian is a long-time member of the CVap Nation. But don’t just take our word for it. Take his.

Chinese short ribs