Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shepherd's Pie ... Sort of ...

I might just as well have titled this post "Secrets." Apparently this is not only The Season of No Sitting, its also the month in which I air my dirty little short-cut secrets. Fast on the heels of disclosing the recipe for fudge made with Fluff, it looks like I'm at it again. I hope the foodie police won't put a bounty on my head ... think what that would do to my tiara!

Long-term readers will know that I'm not big on the use of packaged ingredients. I much prefer the use of fresh things and meals made from scratch. That being said, desperate times call for desperate measures, and this recipe was born out of a need to put dinner on the table in a hurry. Despite the 10,000 other things on my to-do list, it seems that the husband has a continual desire to be fed. Husband are like that ... and I like to keep him happy.

The snow was falling on New York city last night, I was elbow-deep in chocolate peppermint cookie dough, and the husband was fast approaching. What's a busy Diva to do? Why turn to a decades old recipe and get cooking!

Shepherd's Pie with Turkey:
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • non-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. of ground turkey breast
  • 1 large rib of celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 can of Campbell's Condensed Vegetable Beef soup
  • one 12 oz. jar of Heinz Savory Beef Gravy
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup of frozen cut green beans
  • 1 tsp. of dried Summer Savory
  • 1/4 tsp. of poultry seasoning
  • freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Boil and prepare the potatoes as you would normally for mashed potatoes. Season them with a bit of salt and pepper. I don't use much butter and I like to add a grating of fresh nutmeg to mine. You will use the mashed potatoes to top the shepherd's pie - and they will bake in the oven. As such, keep them a bit stiff, mixing in the milk a little at a time until they are smooth and creamy, but not wet.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the celery, carrots and onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ground turkey breast and saute until the turkey has cooked throughout, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and stirring frequently. Once the turkey has cooked, add the can of vegetable beef soup, undiluted, and the jar of beef gravy, stirring well to combine. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thin the mixture a bit. Add the frozen green beans, the dried savory and the poultry seasoning, stir to combine, allow the mixture to come to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer on low until you've finished the mashed potatoes.

To assemble the casserole:

Pour the turkey mixture into a large casserole dish and dollop the mashed potatoes on top, spreading them out with a fork to cover the turkey. Do this gently, as you want to cover the turkey with the potatoes and not mix the two together. I like to sprinkle the top of the potatoes with a bit of paprika and some dried chives. Bake the shepherd's pie in the middle of a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is hot and bubbling and the potatoes begin to brown at the edges. Serve and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve 4 to 6, depending on portion size.

As a good Irish girl, I can tell you that this is not a true Shepherd's Pie. Real Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb ... and I think lamb tastes like dirt, hence the ground turkey! Your mileage may vary, of course, so do as you see fit. If you're a fan of red meat, you could certainly use ground beef. Feel free to vary the veggies as well. Peas would make a fine addition, but the husband cannot abide them, so they're not included in my recipe.

Now I realize that this is both a non-Beachy recipe and a major departure from my usual fare. This is one of the few times I will post a recipe using canned or jarred ingredients and I'm not a bit sorry. The casserole is savory, delicious, hearty and comes together quickly. Total prep time, including the baking, is about an hour. I make this maybe once a year, and we enjoy the hell out of it. Its low in fat, super tasty and the only major issue with the canned soup is the sodium content. I happen to have low blood pressure, so I don't worry about such things - but if you have sodium concerns you may want to take a pass on this one.

And there you have it - another dirty secret from your normally gourmet Diva. So, what's your secret? Do you have a favorite short-cup recipe to which you'll sheepishly admit? (I hope so ... I hate to cheat alone!) Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


Food Lover said...

shepherd's pie with turkey ha that sounds interesting!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Ha, indeed. I may be half Irish, but I'm 100% against lamb. LOL

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Shepherd's Pie... Sort of... (Gobble gobble) Turkey, now there's a twist. Would that be a Turkey Farmer's Pie? I don't know, what the hell do you call a person who looks after turkeys? <----- English teacher stumped.

Recipe looks cool though...


Deb said...

My mom used to make shepherd;s pie all the time for my dad and she always used leftover raost beef that she ground up - I was never a fan.

I take frozen green beans and saute in olive oil in a pan with shallots or onions and dust with salt pepper and some fresh nutmeg. At end when they start to carmelize I add pignolis and brown those up and serve - yummy.

Not fresh but definitely tasty.


The Diva on a Diet said...

LOL, Argentum - you really gave me a giggle with that one! :)

Thanks, Deb, that sounds like a good way for me to use up the rest of the box of frozen green beans. Love the shallot and nutmeg. Yum!