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Psychedelicatessen: Shepherd’s Pie

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“Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.”

Colorado’s Amendment 64 won approval from voters who wanted to see marijuana treated like alcohol. Marijuana’s legal, sure, but treating it like alcohol hasn’t quite happened yet. Try limiting Coloradoans to one six-pack per liquor store visit, or banning alcohol consumption at public events or in restaurants. So far, legal marijuana hasn’t achieved the ubiquitous availability and social acceptance of beer or wine, despite numerous studies asserting its safety over those substances. While Colorado pot proponents still have to fight to get local government approval for retail cannabis store locations and Amsterdam-style “coffeeshops” have been forbidden, you can buy or be served alcohol almost anywhere, almost all the time.

As we approach St. Patrick’s Day, our nation’s de facto excuse to get blotto on green beer in the name of honoring Irish culture, I hope the occasion would prompt some soul-searching amongst those who prefer the blissful high of cannabis to the sloppy recklessness brought on by six or eight pints of Guinness. What does our intoxicant of choice say about society? How would a shift in consumption from beer to weed impact our wider values? Would we be happier, healthier, more productive?

Personally, I love beer, and while I love weed more, the careful combination of both of these mood-altering substances is my favorite concoction. A few beers, drunk in moderation, paired with a nice spliff always gets me to my happy place, and I believe using cannabis has enabled me to drink responsibly and avoid going over my limit. That’s the microcosm, but the macrocosm is what interests me. I believe as a society, tempering our alcohol intake by allowing for a diverse, competitive choice of intoxicants will ultimately make the world a better place.

Imagine a future where 4/20 is as big as St. Patrick’s Day, and cannabis was as equally beloved by mainstream Americans as beer is today. What will our society look like when the annual 4/20 Parade shuts down major city streets and an openly stoned populace roams the streets in search of the next bong hit? My guess is that such a world would be more joyous, safer and fun than New York City streets on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, with fewer people passed out on the streets and less puke in the subway.

In such a futuristic pot-loving paradigm, I can imagine high revelers returning from a parade that featured giant balloon doobies and floats decorated by paper mache bongs to tuck into this version of Shepherd’s Pie, enhanced by a dollop of herbaceous green butter that will have you feeling sublimely satisfied.

The cannabis flavor really works well in this dish, complementing the beef and potatoes with a noticeable but not unwelcome ganja flavor. You can use the Green Ganja Smashed Potatoes recipe from The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, or any type of mashed potatoes will work just fine. The Shepherd’s Pie is easy to prepare, and will give you a nutritious base with which to soak up all that green beer! Plus, ingesting marijuana will help prevent the ill effects of binge drinking, although be sure to stay hydrated and consume a pint of water for every pint of beer to avoid a post-St. Pat’s hangover.

Shepherd’s Pot Pie

Ingredients

1 pound ground chuck beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp flour
10 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper
3 cups Green Ganja Smashed Potatoes
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:
First, make or heat up your mashed potatoes. Add cannabutter if necessary and stir until it melts completely, then add 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Heat a large pan over high heat. Cook the beef, breaking it up with a metal spatula, until it is grey, not pink; about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, until onions are soft and lightly browned.

Add the thyme, ketchup and flour, stir to combine. Add ½ cup water (I used reserved potato cooking water) and the frozen veggies. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until entire mixture is warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the beef and veggies into your casserole dish in an even layer. Add the mashed potatoes to the top layer and use the tines of a fork to make decorative patterns. Creating more surface area allows the potato layer to get crispy and golden brown on top. We created a pot leaf shape that we filled in with additional cheddar cheese, but you can always just sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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