Grilled Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie/Oliver Brewing Crown of Lies/Mothership “High Strangeness”

 In Double IPA, Recipes, Vegetarian

So we’re about a week off on posting this St. Patrick’s day fave that we put a vegetarian spin on, one  that is so earthy and rich, we promise you won’t miss the meat. How do we accomplish that, you ask? By taking cubed squash, carrots and parsnips and first braising them in vegetable stock, Guinness and red wine then grilling them over a charcoal flame before letting them stew back in the braising liquid that gets shot up with more alcohol, tomato paste, fresh rosemary, peas, salt and pepper. This thick Irish chili goes into individual ramekins and topped with mashed potatoes and freshly shredded Vermont white cheddar. Baked then broiled into a bubbly, cheesy pie; one bite and you’ll see what we mean instantaneously about not missing the meat in this one. For the beer and music, it’s always a special night around here when we get to feature the beer and album collaboration from Oliver Brewing’s Long Live Rock and Roll series where they brew a special release beer to go along with the release of a new rock album. Tonight we have the privilege of drinking their DIPA Crown of Lies while cranking up the new Mothership album “High Strangeness”. We are in for a fun night indeed!

Grilled Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie – Even though this recipe takes a couple hours to complete, it is not necessarily difficult. Since the veggies under go a three part cooking process let’s start there. We start by cubing 1 large butternut squash, 1 small bag of multicolored carrots and a couple of parsnips. Toss the veggies with olive oil.

In a large, deep pan add in the veggies and give them a quick stir then add in 1 cup vegetable stock, 1 cup of Guinness and 1/2 cup of red wine. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

In about 20-30 minutes, the veggies should be just about fork tender, with a slotted spoon carefully remove the vegetables leaving the liquid in the pan and transfer to a grill pan over medium/high heat on the grill.

Continuously stir until all of the cubes have softened even more and are nicely charred.

Back inside we go to stir a small can of tomato paste into the cooking liquid along with a 1/2 cup more of Guinness and a half cup of vegetable stock.

Give the pan a quick stir then add back the veggies.

Season with a few sprigs of fresh chopped rosemary, salt and pepper, give quick stir and let the filling simmer on low for a couple of hours. We’re looking for a thick chili consistency with the vegetables super soft but still holding their shape.

The final step is to add in a cup of peas and give it all a final quick stir.

To build these we oil up some foil ramekins and add in 1/2 cup of the filling smoothing out the top.

Next 1/3 cup of creamy mashed potatoes goes on top of the chili, again smoothing out the top.

Lastly, 1/4 cup of freshly shredded white cheddar gets pushed right down into the mashed potatoes.

The pans go into a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes for the cheese to melt then they get the broiler treatment for another minute or two for that cheese to get nice and browned.

A sprig of rosemary for garnish and that’s that. We’ll just go ahead and say it, this was the best shepherds pie we’ve ever had, vegetarian or not.

Oliver Brewing Crown of Lies – We actually got this beer early thanks to the amazingly kind folks over at Oliver Brewing, well before the new Mothership album would land on our stereo. So we waited patiently until the album release to be able to pair them together for this BBQ. As like everything this brewery has put out, Crown of Lies was definitely worth the wait. The beer pours a cloudy amber with a perfectly foamy head and an aroma reminiscent of cutting open the ripest, freshest pineapple and sticking your nose right into the heart of the fruit. Tropical is not even the right word for it. As great as that aroma is, the flavor is not to be believed, a hoppy beast of a beer it’s about as a delicious double IPA as you’re going to find. It’s juicy sweet but bitterly hop strong and absolutely impossible to put down. We were a little weary of the pairing as we’d normally go with a sweeter amber, stout or porter for this dish but you know what? The DIPA worked great with it, especially the charred veggies and strong cheese crust.

Mothership “High Strangeness” – It’s been a blast watching the rise of this Texas trio over the last few years. A harder working more boogie friendly rock and roll band you’d be hard pressed to find, which makes their popularity that much cooler to enjoy. The band’s latest “High Strangeness” is their best so far and that we predict will go toe to toe with any album released this year. To warm things up, the instrumental title track gets the album going from its slow and spacey beginning to its fiery blues jam conclusion, it’s the perfect way to whet your appetite for what’s to come. “Ride The Sun” is flat out one of the best songs on the album and one that had us turning things up pretty loud upon our first listen. The fuzzy riff will grab you by the throat and not let go, it’s huge and the notes hang out there in a Thin Lizzy “Emerald” kind of way.  Coincidentally enough, the solo and rhythm section in the jam that ends the song shows the band in complete Lynott/Gorham/Downey mode. Keeping that adrenaline going, the band rips off “Midnight Express”, a decidedly darker and sludgier tune that combines Down with Danzig and works perfectly. “Crown of Lies” is the tune from which the beer takes its name and what a good choice it was. The song is pure metal straight from the era of the BWOHM, recalling Diamond Head and early Priest. The breakdown in this has Maiden written all over it as well. Toss in yet another killer solo and you’ve got pure magic. “Helter Skelter” was the first teaser song released before the album dropped and no, it’s not THAT” “Helter Skelter”. What it is though is a barn-burner of bluesy rock and roll tune. After all that in your face rock that has melted the speakers until now, that band takes a 4 minute hiatus on the super chill and aptly named “Eternal Trip” before “Wise Man” opens things back up again on this straight forward, driving tune. The band finishes things off by channeling their inner southern metal selves, drawing from Alabama Thunderpussy, Artimus Pyledriver, Dixie Witch and the like, the song is a clinic in southern metal boogie and caps off one incredible album.

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