Usually when grown-ups discover that they now like a food they once hated, it’s something like asparagus or mussels. But my latest “never used to like it, now I love it” food is Shephard’s Pie. To be honest this is not something that was placed in front of me all that often; we just weren’t a big meat-and-potatoes kind of family. So on the off-chance it was served, I doubt it would have ranked among my lovely but completely-Jewish-non-Irish mother’s best work. No wonder I’ve made it this far without ever even considering making the stuff.
So I have no idea what came over me one day as the words “Shephard’s Pie” flew out of my fingertips and into the Google search box.
I must have been dreaming of my new cast-iron skillet, smokin’ hot and brimming with hearty meat and vegetables. And I must have known that somewhere there existed a Shephard’s Pie that would strike my particular foodie fancies.
Well, not quite. I had to put in a little work. As it turned out, my ideal Shephard’s pie was thick with mushrooms and spinach combined with ground turkey in a rich tomato sauce. And as if this should come as any surprise, it was covered in my favorite foodie color: orange, instead of white. But not just plain ol’ pumpkin, this squash was pureed with creamy white beans for a hearty, fiber-and-protein-rich topping. And if any further evidence was needed to prove my new-found love for Shephard’s Pie, it arrived the next morning. I woke up already craving the leftovers for dinner that night.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 10 oz package baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb ground turkey
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca starch
14 oz can diced tomatoes
10 oz baby spinach
1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree, or ~ 2 cups roasted, pureed winter squash
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 oz grated pecorino romano cheese
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Heat a olive oil in a 9-10″ cast iron skillet* over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for two minutes, until starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes more, until they have released their moisture. Add the minced garlic and ground turkey. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the turkey, until browned. Mix in the Herbs de Provence, tomato and paste, and flour; mix to coat well. Raise the heat to high, and add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, letting it wilt down. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Meanwhile, puree the pumpkin or squash together with the white beans. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the turkey filling in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until hot and bubbling around the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until lightly browned.
*I used a cast iron skillet, but any oven-proof skillet can be used. If you do not have any oven-proof skillet, you can prepare the meat mixture in any pot or pan and transfer it to a pie dish before adding the topping and baking.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 13.4 g
Cholesterol: 86.3 mg
Sodium: 479.7 mg
Total Carbs: 35.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.3 g
Protein: 34.6 g