Dining Features

Foodie for Thought: Serving Up Shepherd’s Pie

One of my favorite Irish dishes to make this time of year is shepherd’s pie. I love the idea of using a lean meat like ground turkey to lighten up this traditionally beefy dish. The key to making this version as yummy as the original is keeping everything moist. The ground turkey has much less fat than ground beef, so you have to add moisture back in, and I accomplish that by adding some of my favorite veggies. I also like to use fresh herbs because they add such an explosion of flavor and give the dish that irresistible homemade taste.

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
l medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon each finely chopped thyme, rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. diced white mushrooms
1 lb. ground lean turkey meat
1/2 cup chicken stock
14 oz. bag frozen peas
1 tablespoon flour
4 cups homemade mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, herbs and salt and pepper to taste, cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and let mixture cook over medium heat another 5 to 10 minutes or until veggies are almost tender.

Add ground turkey to the pan and break up the meat with a spatula. Let cook for 8 to 10 minutes then add 1/2 cup chicken stock and frozen peas and let simmer for 5 to 8 minutes to let all the flavors combine and to reduce the stock. Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mixture, and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray your favorite casserole with cooking spray. Transfer mixture into the casserole and spread into an even layer. Take your mashed potatoes and smooth into a thick layer over the meat mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Bake in a preheated 400° over for 8 to 12 minutes. If you desire, pop the broiler on for about 3 minutes to get that golden brown bubble on top.

Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving to guests.

Golden Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 stick butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

Peel your potatoes, cut them in half, and then place them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a heaping tablespoon of salt to the water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium and let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until a fork can easily go through the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and put them immediately back into the hot pot. Add in butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher until everything is combined (if you want to, you can put all ingredients into a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to cream the potatoes).

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