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Dale Hodgins
Post     Subject: Shepherd's pie in a microwave. Jobsite cooking

I am at a job site that has a microwave, but no stovetop or hot plate or oven. It's hard to cook many things in a microwave. But I have done a fine job of shepherd's pie.

I have a couple of those big jars that hold one kilogram or 2.2 lb of Adams peanut butter. These were my cooking vessels. I found some really good rib steak marked down by 50% because the red dye was starting to fade. I cut it up using my sharpest butter knife, couldn't find the other stuff in my storage. I put all of the steak chunks plus a bunch of onion and celery into one of the jars. Microwaved that until it was good in hot and then quickly covered it in a towel when it came out, so the material kept cooking. Then I cooked potatoes.

With the primary ingredients now cooked, I poured them out on a big plate and mixed them thoroughly. I opened up my bag of mixed vegetables. So now it was time to construct the shepherd's pie. I put in a little bit of meat, then some potato, then some vegetables, then a bit of cheese, then some meat, then some potato, vegetables etc, until the jar was filled. I topped it off with cheese. I pressed everything down firmly in order to avoid air pockets.

Then it was time to reheat. A solid mass like this can be difficult to heat, because it could produce steam and send a bunch shooting out the top. So I monitored the temperature closely. To be safe, I punctured it with the butter knife a few times. Then I put a bowl on top, so if it did rise out of the container, it would not press against the top of the microwave. Everything was cleaned well before I started, so it could be gathered off the glass tray if necessary. All went well.

It takes a bit of time for shepherd's pie to be just right, so while I read some interesting stuff on permies , I got up occasionally and pressed 111. The idea is to keep it hot for quite a while, without reaching boiling temperature. I never press one minute or two minutes or three minutes. It's either 111  or 2 2 2 or 3 3 3. I suspect others do this. After it had been hot for probably an hour, I let it cool slowly.

It turned out just about as you would expect in a regular oven. The meat was incredibly soft , probably because it was effectively boiled, being in close contact with the potato and other ingredients. I have tried to cook a steak on its own in a microwave and I did not like the results. A bit leathery.

I had enough to totally fill the Adams peanut butter container and four porcelain cups. I ate it over the course of 2 days. I'll be doing more tomorrow, since I could live on shepherd's pie and it's one of the few things that I've ever mastered in a microwave.

Right now, I am sitting in a large bathroom which is the only room being heated. I have used the same microwave to heat 10 L of water for bathing. That's about 10 quarts. It also heats the room quite nicely, but the room was preheated by a little electric heater that I have. Use what you have they say.

I'm writing this on my tablet, which is a first for me and my pictures are on the phone. So I will add pictures after my bath. Only of the shepherd's pie. My wife doesn't think I should post bathtime pictures. :-)