In England a popular short joke regarding shepherd’s pie is a recipe which starts like this: “to make shepherd’s pie, do the following — get two shepherds and mince them”.
This recipe is shepherd-free…
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped or shredded roast turkey (white and/or dark meat)
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1/2 cup green peas
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes or Basic Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
3/4 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square or 2.2 quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.
In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, red peppers, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the meat and stir well to combine. Gradually add the stock, honey, and then the peas, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Carefully transfer to the prepared dish and spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are crisp around the edges, 22 to 25 minutes.
Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
Basic Mashed Potatoes:
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1-inch wedges
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a medium, heavy saucepan with enough salted water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain in a colander and return to the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, cook the potatoes for 1 minute to dry. Add the milk, butter, cream, honey, salt and pepper and mash until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings