Friday, November 4, 2011

Recipe: Fall Shepherd's Pie

Yes, it's officially cold enough for Shepherd's Pie and heaters and sweatshirts. That makes me happy. Although leaving the house for work and finding out that it's 38 degrees is a little shocking. Not in a bad way, necessarily.

So yesterday afternoon I saw this recipe for Fall Shepherd's Pie. Backing up: This year, I intend to have my first Thanksgiving Dinner. I eat other people's Thanksgiving dinners every year but have yet to make my own. I haven't made my own Thanksgiving turkey! Ever! This is not good and this year changes it all. First turkey, first Thanksgiving in our house at our dining table, not another person's house and dining table. I've been writing up menu ideas and shopping lists and I'm getting my HoneyBaked Ham ordered. I'm feeling very festive.

Anyway, I found this recipe and got very excited about it since it made me feel like Thanksgiving and football (I don't even like football) and cold air and falling leaves and cocoa and Hot Toddys. It's a seasonal twist on the classic recipe: instead of ground beef, ground turkey (you could totally use actual Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, too), cranberries and sweet potatoes. It tastes like those last few bites of Thanksgiving dinner where everything on your plate has become one and there is sweet from the potato and tart from the cranberry sauce and savory from the turkey and gravy. Yeah.

Here is the recipe from - they seem to have a thing for rainbow foods but have other non-rainbow foods, too.

I split the recipe in 1/2 because it just seemed like a lot. It still filled two medium casseroles. Quantities below are original, not halved but I've added notes about my process next to applicable ingredients or instructions.

Fall Shepherd's Pie

Preheat oven to 350

2 pounds ground turkey
3 ribs celery, chopped [I still used 3, even though I split the recipe ]
1 onion, diced small 
2 carrots, chopped [I used 3 carrots, but mine were small-ish]
2 T butter [I used 3 T]
2 T flour [again, 3 T ... when in doubt more gravy is always better!]
1 box chicken stock
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen cranberries
4 sweet potatoes
1 Russet potato, though any regular 'white' potato will do [I used 2 sweet and one regular potato]
Pinch Cinnamon & Allspice
1 cup milk
1/2 stick butter

Peel and dice the potatoes. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast til tender [I just boiled them on the stove]

Meanwhile, brown the turkey in a large skillet then set aside.

In the same pan [I added a little olive oil], saute the celery, onions, and carrots. Add and melt the 2 tablespoons butter, then whisk in the flour and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump.

Add the cooked turkey back into the pan, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken the gravy.

When the potatoes are tender, drain and mash them, then mix in the half stick of butter and milk. Mix in the cinnamon and allspice. [I forgot about the spices until the potatoes were already spread in the dishes, so I just sprinkled them on top of the potatoes]

Add the turkey mixture to the bottom of a casserole dish.

Next, mix together the corn and cranberries and add them on top of the turkey. [I warmed the corn and cranberries in the same pan for a few minutes before adding]

Finally, spread the mashed sweet potatoes smoothly over the top and bake at 350 for about a half hour.

When things are getting bubbly and the top is starting to brown, pull it out of the oven.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

I could not resist extra helpings of this! It's definitely a go-to cool weather dinner from now on. I decided to make it spur-of-the-moment but the ingredients are pretty much kitchen staples (except for the berries, but I did have a couple bags on hand) so you don't have to make a special trip to the store for this recipe.

Enjoy! And let me know if you love it, hate it or made any of your own modifications. =)

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