Shepherd’s Pie

By February 23, 2016

Shepherd's pie is the ultimate winter comfort food-- use up some leftover chicken or turkey, or brown ground meat. Any combination of diced root veggies fills it in and adds fiber and flavor. Mix in a simple roux to bind, top with mashed potatoes, and then bake! This dish can easily be made vegetarian-- try 3 cups of cooked pinto beans or spelt berries instead of meat.

Mashed Potato Top
 4 cups scrubbed, peeled and chopped potatoes (1/2-1" dice)
 3 cloves garlic, smashed
 Pinch of salt
 1/4 cup milk
 1 tbsp butter
 Pinch of (white if you have it) pepper
 Heaping tbsp of sour cream
Fillings
 1 lb ground meat (chicken, turkey, beef or lamb are best) or 3 cups leftover roast meat (chicken, beef or turkey.) For veggie version, use 3 cups cooked pinto beans.
 3 cups finely chopped (about 1/4" pieces) combination of root veggies: definitely use onion, carrots, celery. Also try some turnip, rutabaga, parsnip, or sweet potato.
 2 cups stock (the richer the stock, the better the dish!)
 1/2 cup thawed sweet corn kernels
 1/2 cup thawed and finely chopped frozen green beans
Roux
 2 tbsp butter
 2 tbsp flour
 1 cup milk or stock
 Pinch of salt, pepper, and about 1 tsp of thyme
 Optional: some finely grated parmesan or other hard, salty cheese
--Potato topping
1

Turn your oven to 350.

2

Bring potatoes, smashed garlic, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. If you use a red skin potato, you don't need to peel them, otherwise peeling is probably a good idea. You can also use half potatoes, half sweet potatoes, parsnips or turnips for a topping. (Tip: while these are cooking, prep your finely chopped veggies for the filling.)

3

When done, reserve a bit of the water, and drain the potatoes. Add in the milk, the butter, the pepper and the sour cream. Mash, and if they're too dry, add in a bit of the cooking water. Taste and adjust seasoning.

--Prepare the fillings
4

If you're using uncooked, ground meat, brown it in some oil over medium hight heat, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Otherwise just roughly chop your leftover turkey or chicken from a roast.

5

Add your 3 cups of root veggies and the 2.5 cups of stock to a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes-- a little pre-cooking will help them soften evenly with the rest of the ingredients in the pie.

6

After 10 minutes, toss in the drained and thawed sweet corn and the chopped green beans.

Make the roux:
7

Melt the butter in a small pot and then whisk in the flour over medium-low heat. Keep whisking until it becomes a thick paste. Turn the heat to very low and then whisk in the milk or stock, and continue to whisk until it starts to stick to the whisk. Add in a pinch of salt, pepper and the thyme. Turn off heat.

Putting it all together
8

Mix together the vegetables, the chicken or turkey, and the roux into one pot. Stir well to thicken.

9

Ladle the fillings into a 2 quart casserole (or as pictured, four 1/2 quart - 500 ml mini baking dishes). Top with mashed potatoes. You can do everything up to now ahead of time and refrigerate for a day, or even freeze for later. Before cooking, allow to thaw in the fridge and then come up to room temp on the counter.

11

Bake smaller servings for about 30-40 minutes, or a large shepherd's pie for 45-50 minutes. It should be bubbling and browning on top. You can dash it under the broiler for the last few minutes to help the crust color. If using, sprinkle some cheese on top of the potatoes about 10-15 minutes before they're done.

Ingredients

Mashed Potato Top
 4 cups scrubbed, peeled and chopped potatoes (1/2-1" dice)
 3 cloves garlic, smashed
 Pinch of salt
 1/4 cup milk
 1 tbsp butter
 Pinch of (white if you have it) pepper
 Heaping tbsp of sour cream
Fillings
 1 lb ground meat (chicken, turkey, beef or lamb are best) or 3 cups leftover roast meat (chicken, beef or turkey.) For veggie version, use 3 cups cooked pinto beans.
 3 cups finely chopped (about 1/4" pieces) combination of root veggies: definitely use onion, carrots, celery. Also try some turnip, rutabaga, parsnip, or sweet potato.
 2 cups stock (the richer the stock, the better the dish!)
 1/2 cup thawed sweet corn kernels
 1/2 cup thawed and finely chopped frozen green beans
Roux
 2 tbsp butter
 2 tbsp flour
 1 cup milk or stock
 Pinch of salt, pepper, and about 1 tsp of thyme
 Optional: some finely grated parmesan or other hard, salty cheese

Directions

--Potato topping
1

Turn your oven to 350.

2

Bring potatoes, smashed garlic, a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. If you use a red skin potato, you don't need to peel them, otherwise peeling is probably a good idea. You can also use half potatoes, half sweet potatoes, parsnips or turnips for a topping. (Tip: while these are cooking, prep your finely chopped veggies for the filling.)

3

When done, reserve a bit of the water, and drain the potatoes. Add in the milk, the butter, the pepper and the sour cream. Mash, and if they're too dry, add in a bit of the cooking water. Taste and adjust seasoning.

--Prepare the fillings
4

If you're using uncooked, ground meat, brown it in some oil over medium hight heat, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Otherwise just roughly chop your leftover turkey or chicken from a roast.

5

Add your 3 cups of root veggies and the 2.5 cups of stock to a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes-- a little pre-cooking will help them soften evenly with the rest of the ingredients in the pie.

6

After 10 minutes, toss in the drained and thawed sweet corn and the chopped green beans.

Make the roux:
7

Melt the butter in a small pot and then whisk in the flour over medium-low heat. Keep whisking until it becomes a thick paste. Turn the heat to very low and then whisk in the milk or stock, and continue to whisk until it starts to stick to the whisk. Add in a pinch of salt, pepper and the thyme. Turn off heat.

Putting it all together
8

Mix together the vegetables, the chicken or turkey, and the roux into one pot. Stir well to thicken.

9

Ladle the fillings into a 2 quart casserole (or as pictured, four 1/2 quart - 500 ml mini baking dishes). Top with mashed potatoes. You can do everything up to now ahead of time and refrigerate for a day, or even freeze for later. Before cooking, allow to thaw in the fridge and then come up to room temp on the counter.

11

Bake smaller servings for about 30-40 minutes, or a large shepherd's pie for 45-50 minutes. It should be bubbling and browning on top. You can dash it under the broiler for the last few minutes to help the crust color. If using, sprinkle some cheese on top of the potatoes about 10-15 minutes before they're done.

Shepherd’s Pie

One Comment

  • Sandy G. says:

    This is one of our favorite Lenten dinners. I usually add a little bit of tomato to the sauce and cut the veggies in chinks so it’s a little more like a stew. I often top the pie with mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes.

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