Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shepherd's Pie Redux

I originally published this recipe in November of 2009, but I've recently improved it. I hope you like the changes. For WW followers, this is about 11 points per serving if you use lean ground beef (less if you use turkey or chicken), and I count the whole recipe as having five servings.

What do you cook when you don't have much in the house except leftover turkey, or a random pound or two of ground meat from the freezer? Here's something really, really good that you can make with a pound of lean ground beef, turkey or chicken, or even a mound of leftover turkey, chicken or beef.

Quick savory pie crust (makes 1 crust):

1 cup flour
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 and 1/2 tbsp water
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Mix together in a bowl with a fork and press into a pie pan. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Shepherd's Pie filling:

1 cup carrots, minced
1 cup celery, minced
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup butternut squash, minced (optional)
1 15 oz. can mixed garden vegetables, drained (optional)
1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme or rosemary
1 pound lean ground beef, turkey or chicken (or 1 pound turkey or other meat slices, chopped)
1 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable stock


1 and 1/2 to 3 large potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold), peeled, boiled and mashed with salt, pepper and granulated garlic

First, put your potatoes up to boil. Then, in a large deep bottomed saute pan, combine the carrots, celery, onions and squash and cook with olive oil until softened and lightly browned, about ten minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking an additional three to five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the beef or turkey, making sure each piece is reasonably bite-sized. If you are using ground meat, make sure the meat is already thoroughly cooked and drained, with no pink. If you are using canned veggies, add those after the meat, as they are already cooked and quite soft.

Now, push the veggies and meat over to reveal a fourth of the pan, where you will make a very simple low-fat roux. Place your flour in that empty corner and combine it with a small amount (approximately 1 or 2 tbsp) of the vegetable stock. Mix thoroughly, until the mixture thickens and starts to boil. Continue mixing it for approximately 20 seconds to cook out the floury taste, then add the rest of the stock and mix the roux together with the meat and veggie mixture. It should be smooth. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Turn heat to low and cover.

Mash the potatoes. For additional creaminess, you can also add 2 tbsp of almond milk, MimicCreme or non-dairy creamer, but generally, I recommend salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Pour the meat mixture into the pie shell, and then spread the potatoes over the mixture, so that no meat shows through. For added sheen and that trademark crispiness, spray cooking spray on top of the potatoes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for half an hour, until the potatoes are crisp and the inside is piping hot. Enjoy!