Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I love Shepherd's Pie.  My mom made a basic version all the time when we were growing up, and it was my brother's absolute favorite meal.  I was trying to think of a new recipe for dinner when I realized this was another one of those classics I hadn't yet tried.  Sure, I'd made a basic version with just ground meat and instant mashed potatoes a while ago, but never really dove into finding an authentic version...until now.

I used an Alton Brown version of the recipe I tracked down since I know he goes authentic and just plain love Alton Brown.  I made a few adjustments, including switching the ground meat from lamb to turkey.

First, I cubed the potatoes into blocks about 1/2 square inch in size.  I like potato skins in mashed potatoes, so I chose to not peel them first.  I boiled them in water, then after draining mashed them and added in some butter, half and half, salt and pepper, then stirred to get them creamy.  Though the original recommended microwaving the butter and half and half before adding, I just put them in and let it melt and they came out awesome.  I skipped out on the egg yolk recommended in the original recipe.

While the potatoes were cooking, I diced some carrots and onion then added them to a nonstick skillet with some canola oil.  I cooked them for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions started to become translucent.

I added in the ground turkey and minced garlic next, and continued cooking until the meat was cooked throughout.  Then I added in the flour and coated the meat, then followed it with tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and thyme.  I heated the mixture to a boil, then lowered the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes while the sauce thickened.

For the final step in the meat sauce, I stirred in carrots and peas.  I spread the mixture into a glass casserole dish, then topped it with the mashed potatoes to complete the Shepherd's Pie.
I baked the pie in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

My final step was to add some shredded cheddar cheese to the top.  That's the way my Mom always made Shepherd's Pie and it adds that extra bit of delicious (though she actually used Velveeta, I wanted some real cheese!).

Ok, authentic is amazing!  I absolutely loved the meat sauce with all the veggies mixed in and will be sticking to this version.  It took more work (I felt like the carrot chopping would never end - I'm thinking if I shred the carrots I could cut back on time), but it was so worth it.  The cheese was amazing of course, and I was just glad to have an all new dinner option.  My husband dug in as well, and we have plenty of leftovers for lunch throughout the week.  If you haven't tried Shepherd's Pie, it's time to give it a shot!

Turkey Shepherd's Pie Recipe


3-4 medium russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion
2 carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 cup canned corn
1/2 cup canned peas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Dice potatoes into cubes about 1/2 inch in size. Add to a saucepan filled with water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until soft.  Drain water and mash potatoes.  Stir in the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and stir. While the potatoes are cooking, dice the onions and carrots into small pieces. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Heat the canola oil into a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to become translucent.  Add the garlic and ground turkey and continue to cook until the meat is cooked throughout.  Sprinkle flour over the meat and stir to coat.  Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Heat to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the corn and peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly into a glass casserole dish. Spread potatoes over the top. Bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. If desired, add cheese during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

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