Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New School Shepherd's Pie

Now that I'm all grown up and attempting to cook yummy dinners at least three or four nights a week for my husband and myself, I have a new found appreciation for my mother's cooking. My mom is a great cook but she was not always serving to the friendliest audience. Of my three siblings I'll admit, I was the picky one. Pastas, chicken and veggies were always met cheerfully but dare she attempt to provide a little variety by serving up beef or pork and she had to deal with my complaints or protest via bowl-of-cereal. As well as I remember her delicious homemade pesto, roast chicken and grilled veggies --- I remember the bane of my childhood dinners: the frightening, the heavy, the meaty... SHEPHARDS PIE! As a lactose intolerant, sheep-loving, healthfood fan, not much has changed and I still don't care much for this meaty dish. But of course fate knows this and I married a carnivorous, comfort food loving guy who likes things that, "taste a little like garbage," and yes... of course --- Shepherds Pie. So in an attempt to add some variety to my usual lineup and keep both our palettes entertained I have made a Charlotte-friendly healthier shepherd's pie that both he and I think is delicious! It's a win win. Keep reading for the homey goodness...

Butternut Squash and Turkey Sheperd's Pie - makes about 4 servings

3-4 cups cubed butternut squash (frozen works great)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
3 packets condensed chicken stock flavor (from T Joes) or 2 chicken boullion cubes
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

-Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees
-Steam or boil (if you dont have a steamer) butternut squash for about 10 minutes or until soft and mushable. Transfer to a mixing bowl when it is done and cover.
-While squash is steaming spray a large pan with Pam and put over medium high heat.
-Add onion to pan and saute for about 4-5 minutes until soft then add the peas to the pan as well as 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix all together.
-Add 1 1/2 tabelespoons olive oil to the pan and the turkey (broken into chunks.)
-As the turkey is cooking with the veggies, keep stirring and slowly add in the condensed chicken stock OR chicken bouillon as well as the chicken broth to keep it juicy and moist.
-Add more salt and pepper to taste as well as the teaspoon of italian seasoning - the meat should be flavorful and well seasoned before baking.
-Once the turkey is cooked through and well flavored with the chicken stock, salt, pepper and italian seasoning take it out of the pan and scoop it into a clear baking dish - filling the dish up about 2/3 of the way - make sure to include and juices/broth from your saute pan.
-Mash the steamed butternut squash until smooth with a fork or a potato masher, adding in lots of salt and pepper as well as 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard. Mix until smooth and well seasoned with the salt and pepper.
-Layer the squash on top of the meat, filling the baking dish to the top.
-Bake the dish for 15 minutes or until parts of the squash on top are lightly browning and the juices in the meat are bubbling.
-Serve with a big spoon and enjoy!

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