It happens every time I make mashed potatoes. I panic and make enough for an entire high school football team. So each time I have leftovers. One of my favorite things to make with them is a lightened up Sheperd’s pie. This version came together by accident one day. I had leftover mashed potatoes, ground turkey and some Swiss chard. I figured why not? My kids hate the peas that are in a traditional Sheperd’s pie and they don’t like lamb so bingo, this should work. It turned out GREAT! And it was a huge hit with the kids. They had no idea what the Swiss Chard was but I called it spinach and they ran with it.
If you are really watching your fat grams than you can use ground turkey breast but I would discourage it. I am not a huge fan. Way too dry and tasteless. I like the flavor of the regular one.
• 1-2 onions depending on size, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 lbs ground turkey
• 5-6 carrots, diced
• 1 small can of tomato paste
• 1-2 tsps each of fresh thyme and rosemary
• 1 tsp each salt and pepper. More to taste.
• 1 cup dry white wine (something you would want to drink)
• 1 – 1 ½ cups chicken stock
• 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (any kind is fine, I used Rainbow Swiss Chard)
• 4-5 cups mashed potatoes
Official Directions: (preheat oven to 350)
1. Saute onion in a little olive or canola oil until translucent. Add garlic, cook for a few minutes.
2. Add ground turkey, breaking up with spoon and cook until brown.
3. Drain off grease by tilting pan to one side and using a small ladle to collect as much fat as possible
4. Add diced carrots, fresh herbs cook for a minute or two then add tomato paste. Stir until well incorporated then add white wine. Let alcohol cook off 1-2 minutes.
5. Stir in Chicken Stock, bring to simmer then add Swiss chard. Mix well until Chard is wilted.
6. Take off of heat and place mixture in baking dish leaving enough room for mashed potatoes on top. Do not over fill.
7. Place casserole on baking sheet in case it bubbles over in the oven.
8. Bake for 35-40 uncovered until potatoes are nice and browned on top.
9. Enjoy with family and friends.
Here are the major players.
You can sub in all sorts of veggies if you are feeling adventurous. Leeks, mushrooms would be fantastic. Just make sure you don’t forget the fresh herbs. The Thyme and Rosemary really make this taste wonderful. Your house will smell so enticing and your family will fall at your feet in adoration (well, there is always hope right?).
First, sauté the chopped onion in a little olive or canola oil. Let it get nice and translucent but not brown. Next add the garlic and let it cook for a few minutes. When you can start to smell it, that’s plenty.
Add your ground turkey. I know many recipes do this step first but I like to break the rules. Use a wooden spoon to break it up and let it cook through until browned.
Next is what I do in my house. I drain most of the grease off. I just think “ Do we really need this in here?” The answer is always NO I would rather have a cookie for dessert. Look at all the grease that came out of this.
Ok, here come the carrots. Cook just for a few minutes. You have cut them pretty small so they will mostly get finished through in the oven.
Now add in the fresh herbs stirring them around to make sure all the flavor gets into the meat.
Next comes the tomato paste. This will give a nice acid balance to the dish.
In comes the white wine. Yum. Wine. Don’t act like this isn’t a reason to have a small glass while you cook. French people do, why can’t we?
Let the alcohol cook off then add the chicken stock. Next comes the washed and chopped Swiss Chard. It will look like so much but I promise it will cook down a ton. Your family might not even know it’s in there. Bonus.
You can keep adding stock until you get the consistency that you want. Some people like a soupier texture. I like a little bit in between. Too dry and you might be left with a meatloaf topped with mashed potatoes.
Place mixture in a baking dish. If you are super Smarty, you might double the recipe or if you have a smaller family, then split it into two dishes. Once you are done assembling them, freeze on for that horrible day when you have gymnastics across town until 6pm and need a quick dinner. I use that example because I am sitting of the floor of a gymnastics studio typing this. This recipe will make two smaller casseroles or one large one.
Now break out those mashed potatoes and cover the top of your meat mixture. If you want to get super fancy, use a fork to make some designs on the top. Wow, your family will think they are eating in a historic pub in England.
Now just pop into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes uncovered. The top will get nice and browned and you know it will be done when the broth starts to bubble up through the top. If you don’t have any leftover potatoes by all means either make some fresh or even use the refrigerated kind. In a pinch Bob Evans mashed potatoes can be a lifesaver. Just tell people they are yours.
Refill that glass of wine you had and ring that dinner bell with pure cocky confidence. You just made a masterpiece that every one will love. And if you are still not showered from your morning run like me, no one will notice.
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