Sunday, January 4, 2015

Express Sheperd's Pie

Good evening everyone! When it comes to traditional winter dishes, it’s hard to beat shepherd's pie. Built like a pot pie, a shepherd's pie is typically a bit thicker (think “gravy” to a standard pot pie’s “stew” filling) and topped with mashed potatoes. The distinctions between shepherd's pie and pot pie aren’t too grand, but they are significant enough to make them two distinct dishes.

 The largest difference is in time. Where a traditional pot pie can be covered and baked in a few hours, a shepherd's pie (and its thick mashed potato topping) can take double the amount of time both in the oven and in prep work.

 Of course, there’s also the matter of calories – while traditional shepherd’s pie is a nice “on occasion” comfort food, I don’t think you could really classify it as “good for you”. Plus, we’re entering the new year and most folks are looking to cut calories after all of the holiday indulging – on their way to their new healthier 2015.

So, therein lies the challenge – can we take traditional shepherd’s pie, cut down the prep time and make it a healthy weekend meal option? We found a recipe that gives it a good shot, and with our adaptations the results are worth duplicating.

The Recipe: Quick Shepherd's Pie
Original recipe adapted from:

What You’ll Need:
1 Pound Ground Turkey (Lean)
1 Medium Onion
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 Cup Frozen Green Beans
¾ Cup Frozen Peas
14.5 Ounces (1 Can) Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3-4 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
All Purpose Flour (amount will vary)

Begin by dicing (if necessary) your potatoes and boiling them in a medium pot for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Once tender, mash them by hand with potato masher (you want the potatoes to still have a few lumps – we’re not looking for perfectly smooth, so by hand is the best way to get there). Add in a splash of low fat milk and 1 tablespoon of butter while you’re mashing to make the texture of the potatoes a bit smoother. Set aside.

 While your potatoes are boiling, turn your attention to the main dish. In a large dutch oven or other nonstick pan, brown the ground turnkey alongside the onion – keep stirring regularly until the onion is translucent and the turkey is cooked through. Next, add the green beans and peas, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans have softened and the peas are nearly cooked through.
Next, add in a pinch of dried oregano or Italian seasoning (we opted for Italian, to add a bit more variety to the dish, but if you’re looking to keep it as authentic as possible, straight oregano is the way to go). Slowly stir in the broth and the frozen corn. Cover and bring the dish to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer until the all of the vegetables have cooked through (5 to 7 minutes).

 Finally, stir in two tablespoons of all purpose flour. Allow the mixture to return to a simmer and evaluate the dish – if it has thickened up to your liking, move on to serving, if not, add another tablespoon of flour and repeat the process. Be sure to only add one tablespoon at a time – you CAN over thicken the base, so keep an eye on things.
To serve, scoop the desired amount of the turkey base into a bowl and top with a spoonful of the mashed potatoes you prepared earlier. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

The Results:

Traditional shepherd’s pie is a lamb based dish that is slow roasted all day and topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, then baked to the point of turning those spuds crispy.

That’s the long way of saying: you’re not going to duplicate true shepherd’s pie flavor in a quick (or healthy) fashion. You can, however, create something close – and that’s what this dish does well. You still have rich flavors – you still have a savory potato topping – but you only have to invest 35 minutes into the dish and it’s caloric content finishes in the 300-400 range, rather than 700 to 800 of the original. All in all, not a bad trade off to make.

 That's all we have for you today, but be sure to stop in during the week to see another new recipe courtesy of Maggie. I'll follow up next weekend with two recipes that are perfectly suited for those cozy weekend mornings. Until then, 


No comments:

Post a Comment