Turkey Sheperd’s Pie

This is a great use for Thanksgiving leftovers.  In previous years, we use the turkey carcass to make stock, leftover turkey for the filling, and extra mashed potatoes become the topping.  If we don’t have enough mashed potatoes, then we do a pot pie instead.  Simple.  Easy.  Good.  This has become as much a Thanksgiving tradition for us as the big meal preceding it.  However, this year we did not host Thanksgiving but we already had a bird and dangit, I still wanted my Thanksgiving leftover Sheperd’s Pie so here are directions to make it using raw meat.  Of course, you can still make it using cooked meat, it’ll just be a bit faster.  Note that you still need to use the full 1 c. of oil because it is necessary for making the roux, which is how you get a nice thick filling instead of soup.

We froze half the filling for good eatin’ later.  This recipe makes 1 large pie (9 x 13 dish) or two medium-sized (9-inch round dish) ones.

In a large pot over medium heat, add:
1 c. oil
meat of 1 turkey breast & 1 thigh

While the meat is cooking, peel and chop:
3 turnips
1 large onion
3 large carrots

My husband has this handy guideline for cooking vegetables with poultry or fish:  cut your vegetables  into pieces approximately the same size as your meat.  Then, add the vegetables once the meat is 75% cooked.  This way your vegetables will be nicely al dente once your meat is fully cooked.  Once I learned this rule I stopped adding my vegetables too early and ending up with mushy vegetables or too late and ending up with over-cooked meat by the time my vegetables were done.  Aughh!

So, when your meat is 75% cooked, add your vegetables.  Saute a few minutes, then add:
6 cloves garlic
2-3 T. herbs d’provence
Saute a few minutes more.

1 c. flour
Stir constantly once you add the flour until it is well mixed-in and lightly browned.  Then add:
1/2 gallon (2 quarts) stock

For your culinary edification, what you are essentially making here is a Veloute.  That is, a creamy sauce that has no cream added to it.  Veloute is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cooking.  Now, doesn’t it sound so much more impressive to say you are making a French mother sauce rather than Sheperd’s Pie filling?  Anyway, back to the recipe:

Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and add:
12 oz. bag of frozen peas
Salt & pepper to taste

Transfer contents to a baking dish, fill to ~ 1 inch from the top.  Then place your mashed potatoes on top.  You can use a wide-mouthed frosting piping bag if you prefer your potatoes in orderly rows or you can simply drop them on in scoops, as if you were making a cobbler, which is how I do it.  Place this dish under a sheet tray to catch any bubbly goodness and bake in a 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the tips of the mashed potatoes are golden brown.


This entry was posted in Cooking Tips & Techniques, Fall & Winter Recipes, Holidays, Meat and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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