Gay Cook’s Shepherd’s Pie

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Makes 4 – 5 servings

Cold weather is on our doorstep and this is a perfect dish for these days. A shepherd’s pie is a delicious way of using leftover cooked meat, chicken or turkey, topped with mashed potato, sweet potato or squash, then quickly finished in the oven, or it can be made from fresh ingredients and baked in the oven. Traditionally, an Irish Shepherd’s Pie is  topped with mashed potatoes and was named after shepherds looking after their sheep. It became popular pub fare across Britain.

4 washed potatoes, 3 baked sweet potatoes or a medium squash
2 – 4 tablespoons (25 – 50 mL) milk or as needed
2 tablespoons (25 mL) butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound (450 g) or 2 cups (500 mL) chopped leftover lamb, chicken, turkey or beef
1 tablespoon (15 mL) vegetable or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 – 2 large garlic clove, chopped
1 or 2 medium carrots, cubed or sliced
2 tablespoons (25 mL) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) meat or chicken stock or water or leftover gravy
1 teaspoon (5 mL) chopped fresh rosemary or thyme or half if dried
½ finely grated nutmeg or ½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas and or corn
Salt and pepper to taste.

  1.  Drop potatoes in cold salted water in saucepan. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Peel if desired. If using baked sweet potatoes or squash, remove peel and seeds. Mash potatoes or squash adding a little milk and butter until the consistency can be spread over meat. Season to taste.
  2. Chop cooked meat or poultry into small pieces. Place skillet on medium heat. Add oil and cook onion for two minutes, adding garlic and carrot. Stir in flour to make a roux or if using left over gravy, skip the flour. Let the roux brown to give colour to the sauce, stirring often – 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in liquid, whisking until smooth.
  3.  Add herbs and spice and cook 10 minutes. Stir in chopped meat or poultry, corn and or peas or any preferred cooked vegetable. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixture in 1½ quart (L) casserole and keep warm. Prepare vegetable topping. If using sweet potatoes or squash, bake in 375°F (190°C) until tender. Cool, peel and remove seeds from squash. Puree. Whip in milk and butter to make fluffy consistency. Season.
  4. If using white potatoes, place in saucepan covered with cold water. Bring to boil, cover and cook until tender about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain. Return to pan, mash with milk. Stir in butter, salt and pepper.
  5. Top meat mixture with mashed potatoes or squash. Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and bake until topping is slightly brown and is heated through, about 12 – 15 minutes. If using fresh ingredients, bake casserole 30 – 40 minutes until pie is golden on top and is cooked through.