Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a healthy spin on shepherds pie

(image via mom's recipes)

I'm a shepherd's pie lover. Maybe it's the mashed potatoes. Or the creamy gravy. Or, perhaps, it's the Irish in me.

I love to make shepherd's pie year round in individual crock pots. I've made it before for dinner parties and everyone's always excited to get their own little dish to eat out of.

I usually make some version of the recipe below. It's a bit healthier, since it combines mashed cauliflower with the potatoes (I swear you can't taste the difference!). It also incorporates ground turkey, instead of the typical beef.

If you're having some sort of St. Patty's Day party this weekend, or just a lovely evening at home, whip up a batch of these pies, serve them up with a Guinness, and give a little toast to the Irish.

Shepherd's Pie
adapted from Food Network
(serves 6)

1 pound lean ground turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 pound white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
about 2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets
2/3 cup lowfat milk
2 tablespoons butter

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the meat until brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer the meat to a plate lined with paper towel.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, covered, until they begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are soft and their liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a good helping of pepper. Bright to a simmer. Stir in the peas.

Pour the mixture either into a 11 X 9 baking dish or into 6 oven-safe crock pots or small souffle dishes.

Bring a pot of water up to boil. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Boil the potatoes about 6-8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook the potatoes and cauliflower until both are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes longer. Mash the vegetables until smooth. Heat the milk, butter, remaining salt, and some pepper and stir into the potato mixture.

Spread the potato mixture atop the baking dish or the individual dishes of shepherds pie. If you would like to serve right away, bake for approximately 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you're making ahead, let the shepherd's pie come to room temperature then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

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