To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to throw together my own version of a shepherd’s pie (also known as Cottage pie). It’s not that I don’t like the traditional version of this meat pie with mashed potato crust, I just wanted to have fun adding some flare!
Instead of using beef or lamb in this dish, I wanted to see how it would come out with ground turkey. I also thought it would be nice to add a lot of colorful and flavorful ingredients. In addition to the standard peas, onions and carrots, I mixed in corn, celery, orange and red sweet peppers, and green olives stuffed with pimientos. Olives might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but I absolutely love how they taste in warm dishes, like the Cuban Picadillo I tried making last year.
For the mashed potato topping, I threw in some fresh garlic while the potatoes were boiling and then some dry Ranch seasoning when whipping them. I like the tang provided by Ranch seasoning, but if you’re not a fan of that flavor then just leave it out. Finally, I sprinkled some white sharp cheddar over the topping. Feel free to try a different cheese, or you can leave it off completely.
Normally I’d cook all of this in one large baking dish. However, I knew that there was going to be other food at our celebration so I decided to separate the recipe into two portions. I cooked one 2 quart casserole for our gathering and I refrigerated the second small baking dish for another night. I was pretty happy with how it turned out!
1.3 pounds (20 ounces) lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 cup mini peeled carrots, chopped
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers (whichever color you prefer)
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white cooking wine with lemon flavor
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimientos
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
Gravy for meat filling:
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
Salt & ground black pepper
5-6 medium all-purpose white potatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1/4 cup milk (I use Smart Balance lactose-free fat free milk)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Ranch seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Dice potatoes and place in large pot of cold water along with garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and let cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Blend potatoes and garlic with milk, butter, Ranch seasoning mix, salt and pepper with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly stir in the yolk until well blended. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground turkey in a large frying pan, drain excess fat and set cooked meat aside.
3. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, sweet peppers, garlic and celery, stirring frequently until veggies begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in wine and allow to cook until mostly reduced, about 3 minutes. Stir in the browned ground turkey, mixing well. Place heat on low; add the Worcestershire sauce, green olives, crushed rosemary and thyme leaves, stirring well. Let simmer while making the gravy.
4. In a small sauce pan, bring beef broth to a slow boil. In a small bowl, mix flour with cold water until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the simmering beef broth for about a minute or until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour thickened gravy, frozen peas and corn into meat mixture in the large sauté pan. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Spread meat mixture onto bottom of one 9″x13″ baking dish or split between two smaller baking dishes (such as an 8″x8″ baking dish or a 2 quart casserole dish). Gently place dollops of mashed potatoes on top of meat mixture, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until topping begins to get bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
*Note: You can prepare everything in advance, place in baking dish, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to bake. Let sit out for a little while to remove chill (about 15-20 minutes) before placing in oven to cook; following baking instructions provided.*