With bare cupboards, a grumbling stomach, and no idea what to make for dinner, I somehow managed to throw this shepherd’s pie clone together in about 45 minutes. To my utmost astonishment, it didn’t suck. I quickly grabbed a pad of paper and scribbled down the recipe, and because I’m super nice I’m going to share it with you.
It was just another regular old Sunday night at home, and there was nothing to eat. The pantry, freezer, and refrigerator were all in that familiar “blah” phase that takes places right before one drags oneself to the store to restock. Just as I was lamenting the grocery situation, my wife Shawn said, “Doesn’t shepherd’s pie sound good?”
” Fire up the broiler and show those stupid potatoes who’s boss “
We had barely any food in the house at all, so shepherd’s pie was very unlikely. “Oh sure, and why don’t we ask Bruce Willis to deliver some for us in a free Rolls Royce?” I said. Well, that’s what my brain wanted to say. My mouth, being tired of constantly getting into trouble thanks to my brain, decided instead to say “Sure, I’ll see what I can come up with.” My brain was horrified. Shawn was right though, shepherd’s pie did sound good.
There are a bajillion recipes out there, each one a little different, but there are some common themes. In a typical shepherd’s pie (aka, cottage pie), there is usually some kind of meat simmered in broth and Worcestershire sauce, some kind of vegetable, cheese or cream, onions, and mashed potatoes. I rummaged the freezer again and came up with some ground turkey I had forgotten about. The spice rack yielded beef bouillon powder and some dehydrated onions, and the pantry coughed up a box of instant potatoes and a can of corn. Well whaddya know. Rock and roll.
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp dehydrated minced onions
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp beef bouillon dissolved in 1 cup hot water (or 1 cup beef broth)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar is best)
- 2 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brown the turkey in a skillet with the olive oil, dehydrated onions, and garlic powder, being careful not to overcook. When the turkey is barely done (don’t worry, it’ll cook quite a bit longer), add the boullion or broth, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, thyme, and paprika. Stir well and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 or 15 minutes. Salt to taste and remove from heat.
Layer the meat mixture in the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish and cover with the drained corn. Add the cheese in another even layer, and then carefully spread the mashed potatoes over all of that using a rubber spatula. If you want to get fancy (and who doesn’t), take a fork and lightly scrape the top of the mashed potatoes to give it some texture. The resulting tiny little peaks of mashed potato will get toasty, ramping up the “Wow, look what you made!” factor.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned. If they still aren’t browned after 25 minutes, fire up the broiler and show those stupid potatoes who’s boss. Remove from oven, dish up generous scoops of meaty goodness onto whatever plates you happen to have clean, and do be careful not to sear the flesh from the roof of your mouth. If you can come up with a better name than “Turkey Herder Pie”, I’m all ears. That was the best Shawn and I could come up with while under the influence of a respectable post-dinner food coma.
Super awesome tip: If you have a Dutch oven (tee hee), you can make this entire recipe in the one piece of cookware without having to do the skillet-to-baking-dish transfer thing.
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