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Shepherd’s Pie

December 4, 2007

I’ll be honest, I never liked shepherd’s pie. So every time Kyle has asked me to make it in the 5 years that we’ve been together, I’ve always turned my nose up…but he never really got my point because every so often the shepherd’s pie topic would come up:
Him: “I can’t understand how you don’t like it! It’s just meat, mashed potatoes, and a bunch of vegetables all thrown together and baked. What’s not to like?”
Me: “I don’t like my food to touch. The fact that the meat, mashed potatoes, and vegetables are all mushed together does not appeal to me at all.”
But as we were trying to use up all the leftovers from Thanksgiving, I gave in. I don’t know what came over me that night when he asked for it…maybe it was that I was having doubts about my plan for dinner that night (turkey pot pie) or because I figured it was time to give shepherd’s pie another shot…I don’t know but I quickly found a recipe and got to cookin’ before I changed my mind.
“Who needs a recipe for shepherd’s pie?” you ask. Well, I do. If I was going to give a long-requested and long-disliked (respectively, in our house) dish a shot, I wanted to do it right. Now let me say that I don’t make many of Emeril’s recipes because they usually involve too many ingredients, many of which I’m often unable to find at the grocery store…but this recipe really was great. I used what I had on hand and overall, I must admit, it turned out very well. I got a thumbs up and a few “mmms” from Kyle and now have a new-found respect for shephard’s pie. Who knew??

Shepherd’s Pie
source: Emeril Lagasse

Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and “cottage pie” is made with beef. This is my twist on these 2 favorite English casseroles, substituting leftover roast turkey for the meat.

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Essence or Creole Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and sliced (I omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped or shredded roast turkey (white and/or dark meat)
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes or Basic Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows (I used my leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar
  • Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square or 2.2 quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, Essence, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the meat and stir well to combine. Gradually add the stock and then the peas, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
  3. Carefully transfer to the prepared dish and spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are crisp around the edges, 22 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 22-25 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Basic Mashed Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Place the potatoes in a medium, heavy saucepan with enough salted water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Drain in a colander and return to the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, cook the potatoes for 1 minute to dry. Add the milk, butter, cream, salt and pepper and mash until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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