I told my husband I would make him a traditional British recipe, shepherd’s pie, but, of course, I had to change it up a bit. Apologies to our U.K. family and friends for altering a classic! I found this recipe online by the sophisticated caveman and adapted it. I am sure I will make it again, as it turned out very well. It’s a wonderful winter dish.
I love making everything in one skillet. Less to clean up! Traditional shepherd’s pie has fewer vegetables and no cheese, but I love how the cheese forms a crispy, tasty crust on top.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pounds ground turkey, lamb or ground beef (I used turkey)
About two pounds peeled and cubed (I didn’t peel the potatoes as we like the skins in the mash)
1 medium onions diced
3 carrots sliced thinly
2-3 ribs celery dice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4-6 garlic cloves minced
2 cups baby spinach (optional)
1 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
Chopped fresh chives for garnish
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (sub flour if you don’t have arrowroot)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Preheat oven to 400º
2 Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
3 Drain the potatoes and return to pot along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the milk and mash or mix with hand mixer until smooth. (Add more milk to smooth mix and make it easier to spread, if necessary). Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
4 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until translucent.
5 Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6 Add the ground turkey, cinnamon, thyme, mace, oregano and rosemary. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. (You may have to drain off some fat if using ground beef). Add the peas.
7 Pour in the chicken stock, tomato paste, and arrowroot powder or flour. Simmer until sauce has thickened.
8 Finally add the spinach, if using, and cook until wilted. Remove the skillet from heat and add half the cheddar on top.
9 Layer the mashed sweet potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Smooth evenly and add the remainder of the cheddar on top.
10 Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is brown and the mixture bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before garnishing with fresh chopped chives.