Monday, December 7, 2009

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Yes, I'm still on a comfort food kick. Don't expect it to stop anytime soon, especially since we got our first snow on Saturday!

When I was visiting my parents last weekend, we went to an Irish pub for dinner one night. I had a shepherd's pie, and wondered why I had never made one before (I mean, it has a mashed potato crust!). I remembered seeing a recipe for a turkey shepherd's pie in my Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats cookbook and decided I'd give it a try this weekend. I should say, I am not a huge fan of Rachel's (the cookbook was a gift!). It's not just because I find her personality kind of annoying, but also because the "30 minute meals" thing is a big fat lie. Her recipes have a ton of ingredients (that need to be chopped), and I usually end up using a lot of pots, pans, bowls, and utensils to get one of her meals together so it takes forever to clean up. Her recipes are not as simple and fast as something that claims to be a "30 minute meal" should be. That said, I've enjoyed the end result of each one of her recipes that I've tried. We do have a "30 minutes or less" tag on this blog, and I really don't think I can put that tag on this particular entry since it took me almost an hour to make this dish.

This is not a traditional shepherd's pie by any means. It has a lot more veggies than any other shepherd's pie I've eaten, and it gets its smokiness from bacon, paprika, and cumin. I mostly followed the recipe, except I ignored the part that told me to cook the bacon in 2 Tbs. of olive oil. I don't know what Rachel is smoking over there in the Food Network kitchens, but I'm pretty sure bacon does not require additional cooking fat, so I left it out.  If I make this again, I would use a little less chicken broth or else let the sauce thicken a little more on the stove top because it was more liquid-y than I would have liked. On the whole, we really enjoyed it, and it tasted great the next day too.

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie
By Rachel Ray. View the original at

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
Coarse salt
1/4 pound smoky bacon or turkey bacon, chopped
1 1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, available in small cans on spice aisle of market
(You may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each sweet paprika and cumin combined)
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons, 5 or 6 sprigs, fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, beaten
10 to 12 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and brown it up, drain off most of the fat, then add ground turkey to the pan and break it up. Season the turkey with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and thyme. When turkey browns up, add: onions, carrots, celery. Generously season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper and peas cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook flour 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and combine. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine. Simmer mixture over low heat.

Preheat your broiler to high.

When potatoes are tender, add a ladle of cooking water to the egg. Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out a little. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, butter, half of the chives, and salt and pepper. Smash and mash the potatoes, mashing in the beaten, tempered egg. If the potatoes are too tight, mix in a splash of milk.

Pour turkey mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top turkey with an even layer of smashed potatoes and place casserole 5 inches from hot broiler. Broil the potatoes until golden at edges and remove the casserole from the oven. Garnish the casserole with the remaining chives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Download printable recipe.


Bec said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ydougherty said...

I just made a Rachel Ray shepard's pie on Sunday! I think it was just called "30 Minute Shepard's Pie" - and I agree, did NOT take 30 minutes and still have a pile of pots and pans in sink. Damn you Rachel Ray! It was a little bland - this one looks like it would have more kick. Thanks for posting!