Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Shepherd’s Pie – a great way to use leftover turkey
We typically have more leftovers from Thanksgiving than we know what to do with. Turkey sandwiches made with breast meat are one of our favorites, but the leftover dark meat is always a dilemma. Last year we made Turkey Hash (recipe in the archives) with a fried egg on top and it was delicious. Other years we’ve make a Turkey Curry, but this year we were in the mood for something different. I found a classic recipe for Shepherd’s Pie in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and substituted the dark meat from our turkey for the lamb, added a dash of sherry to the gravy, included corn and green peas, topped the mixture with the traditional mashed potato crust, but added a sprinkling of good Gruyere cheese at the end. Note, if fresh rosemary is not available, substitute dried thyme. Dried rosemary, in my opinion, can taste like dried twigs. A classic Shepherd’s Pie calls for leftover lamb or beef, but we thought the turkey gave it a current twist on a classic. It is an earthy, comfort food type of dish and would be good with other vegetables, such as carrots.
Currently the Food Network is featuring quite a few recipes for Shepherd’s Pie on their website. They’ve switched up ingredients and have used some creative twists. For example, one uses cornbread for a topping; another contains sweet potatoes. They are taking this classic, to quote them, from “familiar to fabulous.”
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat, preferably a combination of light & dark meat
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried rosemary) or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ to ½ cup beef broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of dry sherry
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 cup cooked small English peas
4 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed (about 3 cups)
½ cup freshly grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sauté the chopped onion in a small bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat until soft and beginning to brown. Season the onions with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and rosemary and cook a minute or two more. Remove from heat and set aside in a large bowl.
Chop the meat in a food processor until finely minced, but not turned into a paste, and remove from the processor and add the meat to the cooked onions and garlic.
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes until smooth and blended. Slowly add the beef broth. Stir and cook until the gray is thickened, cooking at least 5 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. If necessary, use an additional ¼ cup of broth if your sauce is too thick. Add a dash of dry sherry and cook a minute or two more. Add the meat mixture along with the corn and peas; stir to blend, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon mixture into a casserole or individual soup dishes. Spread the mashed potatoes on top and cover to the edge of the casserole. Make a crisscross design with a fork. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the meat is bubbling hot and the potatoes are browned. Top with the cheese and bake a few minutes more until cheese melts. Serves 4 to 6.