Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shepherd’s Pie could be my new favorite way to use up leftovers! It’s so easy!

Sauté some fresh veggies, add whatever leftovers you have. Make a quick gravy. Make a fresh batch of mashed potatoes. Place veggie and meat mixture in a baking dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

By no means is what I suggested above a “traditional” recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.

According to my handy Food Lover’s Dictionary, the pie is a “popular British or Irish meat pie made of cooked ground or diced meat (traditionally lamb or mutton) mixed with gravy and sometimes vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes…Shepherd’s pie was originally created as an economical way to use leftovers from the ubiquitous Sunday roast.”

I didn’t use lamb in my recipe. However, I did have several kinds of vegetables and leftovers that needed to be used. I didn’t want to make soup again. (We recently ate turkey soup for nearly a whole week after Thanksgiving.)

I started scouring the Internet for inspiration to use my leftovers.

It’s chilly outside here in Istanbul. So I thought something warm and hearty would be lovely for dinner. I found a traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe on BBC Good Food's website. This was my starting point.

Shepherd’s Pie is definitely not the healthiest meal mainly because I like to make my mashed potatoes with loads of butter and whole milk. But it’s certainly delicious and will warm up your belly!
Oh, I did serve the dish with a spinach salad. However, I must mention that I dressed the salad with an apple cider-bacon vinaigrette. I had reserved some of the bacon fat from Sunday’s breakfast that hubby made for me.
Our breakfast of bacon and over easy eggs on Sunday.
Sorry, but bacon is hard to by here in Turkey, so we have to savor it.

If you use my adaptation, feel free to substitute the vegetables with whatever you might have on hand.

Afiyet Olsun!

Leftover Shepherd’s Pie
1          T.         vegetable oil
4-6       ea.        cloves of garlic, chopped small
3          ea.        shallots (or substitute ½ small onion), chopped small
3          ea.        carrots, chopped small
4          ea.        Turkish long, green peppers, chopped small
1          ea.        tomato, diced small
2          ea.        fresh sage leaves
1          c.+       frozen peas, carrots and potatoes
2          T.         Aci biber sosu or tomato paste
Splash              Worcestershire sauce
1          c.         beef stock
Make a quick gravy with approx. 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and 1 Tablespoon cold water.
TT                    salt and pepper

500      g.         (approx. 1 lb.) cooked roast beef, chopped small
900      g.         (approx. 1 to 1.5 lb.) mashed potatoes

1. Preheat the oven to approx 400 F or 180 C.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil. Then, sauté the garlic, shallots and carrots just until softened, about five minutes.
3. Next, add the green peppers, tomatoes, sage, frozen vegetables, aci biber sosu or tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a few minutes. You can add the roast beef now too and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Then, add the beef stock while whisking in the cornstarch mixture. Let the liquids come to a boil and they will thicken slightly.
5. Prepare a large baking dish (approx. 8 ½” by 11”) by rubbing it with butter or using pan spray.
6. Pour the vegetable-beef mixture into the dish.
7. Carefully, spread the mashed potatoes on top. I used a fork to make the criss-cross pattern on top of mine.
8. Bake the pie until it starts bubbling and the potatoes are lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. 

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