Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and what better way to celebrate this Irish holiday than with some traditional Irish fare.  And you can’t get any more “traditional Irish” than Shepherd’s Pie.  Originally called “Cottage Pie” this hearty dish was a means to use up roasted meat of any kind.  The Shepherd part didn’t come into play until 1877, and is generally used when the meat is lamb (mutton).

However, I am not a fan of mutton, plus it’s super expensive, so I opted for a more economical, typically American choice: ground turkey.  Affordable, lean, and easy to find in any grocery store, ground turkey can be a great substitute in many recipes that call for ground lamb, wild game, or beef.  The mild flavor is like a blank canvas with so many possibilities to please your palate.  If you prefer to go the traditional route, you can use mutton or beef, or even a mixture of the two, in place of the turkey.

There are quite a few steps that take you back and forth so don’t forget to read the recipe through first!  There’s a lot going on, but all the steps are oh, so worth it!  I hope you enjoy my spin on this dish.  Enjoy!  ~Joanie

Ingredients:

Mashed Potatoes:
6-8 Medium potatoes, peeled
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
Salt to taste

Pie Filling:
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen corn
5 Tbs butter, divided
1 Cup onion, diced
3 Celery stalks, chopped
3 Large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs all purpose flour
2 Cups turkey or vegetable broth
4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp ground thyme
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen English peas
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
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Directions:

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Fill a large stock pot with water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once potatoes are tender, drain and set aside.

In a deep skillet or sauce pan, brown meat.  Remove the cooked meat from the pan and set aside.  Keep the pan and drippings for a later step.  (If you’re using ground beef or lamb, you may want to drain it, as these meats are much fattier than turkey.)

While the meat is browning, you should have time to caramelize the corn.  Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the corn to a skillet and cook on medium-high heat until you see it start to turn dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Caramelizing the corn brings out the sugar and adds a really yummy layer of flavor.  Adjust the heat accordingly if it starts to scorch, you don’t want burned corn ruining your yummy dinner!  Caramelized Corn.jpg

In the pan you browned the turkey in, add 2 Tbs of the butter and let it sizzle on med-high heat for about 1 minute.  Don’t let it burn.  Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery all at once, reduce heat to medium and let it all cook together for about 5 minutes.Trinity.jpg

Make a well in the middle of the veggie pan and add 2 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoon of flour and whisk together to form a roux.  When the roux is golden in color, slowly begin to add about 1/2 the turkey stock, whisking as you go.  Roux.jpg

Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the rest of the stock, the fresh rosemary sprigs (whole, you’ll fish them out later), the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, English peas and salt & pepper.  Let this all cook together on medium heat for about 10 minutes.Rosemary.jpg

Now would be a good time to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Back to the potatoes: Add the butter, garlic powder, sour cream and salt to the potatoes and whip with a hand mixer on medium speed until just creamy.  Fill your piping bag/tool using a large star tip, if using, and set aside…you’re almost there.

Remove the spent rosemary sprigs from the vegetable filling.  Make sure you get all the woody stems, those are no fun to chomp down on!  Add the browned turkey and the caramelized corn to the vegetable filling.  Filling.jpg

Transfer mixture to an oven safe baking dish, making sure to leave about an inch of clearance from the top.  I used a 2 quart round dish.  This would also be really cute in individual-sized cast iron pans, but I don’t have those.  Yet.
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Pipe the potatoes onto the top of the filling.  If you don’t have a piping bag, smooth individual spoonfuls of potatoes onto the filling mixture, starting around the edges and working your way to the center.  Whether you’re using the piping or spooning method, make sure the potatoes create a good seal over the filling.
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Into your 400 degree oven it goes, MAKE SURE to put a cookie sheet or piece of foil under it because it will most likely drip…mine does every time.  =)
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Bake for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.  If it’s bubbling around the edges but the potatoes aren’t the color you want, you can broil it for 1-2 minutes but watch it very, very, very carefully!

The insides will be scorching hot, so let it cool and set up for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Dish up and enjoy!  This one makes great leftovers too!
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Oven Roasted Potatoes

Aside from coffee, potatoes are probably my biggest weakness in life.  Put a potato in front of me in any form and I have a hard time resisting.  I have a weakness for french fries and potato chips (especially salt & vinegar flavored!) but I would take these savory roasted potatoes over those any day!
The sweet onions compliment the potato perfectly and the garlic adds a nutty flavor that completes the dish.  The simple preparation and inexpensive ingredients make this a fantastic addition to your dinner repertoire.
This method is really delicious with sweet potatoes as well.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 lbs medium red potatoes OR white sweet potatoes
1 sweet onion, wedged
10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, snipped into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dried parsley
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper


Directions
:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scrub and quarter potatoes, or if using sweets, chop into approx 2×2 in chunks.  Try to make the size as uniform as possible.

Place potatoes and all other ingredients in a bowl or a large seal-able bag and toss to combine.

Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  I recommend using a baking stone for this as it reduces the chances of burning.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Carefully remove rosemary stems.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Ham Potato Soup

You may wonder why I’m posting a hot soup recipe in the middle of June, well, while our family and friends in Alaska are experiencing a heat wave, those of us here in Eastern Washington are enjoying much cooler, cloudier temperatures that are perfect when paired with a good bowl of soup!  Also, I was cleaning out my freezer and found a ham bone from Easter that I needed to use!  Here is my super simple ham, potato soup recipe, enjoy!  ~Janna

Ingredients:

1 ham bone (some meat on, or cubed ham)
1 large sweet onion
6 red potatoes washed and peeled
4 carrots chopped
½ cup milk
2 cups kale, washed and ripped into bite sized chunks
1/8 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
black pepper

Method:

Place ham in a large stock pot with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil then simmer covered for about 2 hours.  Remove the ham from the water along with all the meat/fat pieces floating in water.  Get all of the good meat off the ham and cut into bite sized chunks, set aside.  Add 1 quart of water to the stockpot and bring back to simmer.  Cut up onion, potatoes, carrots and add to simmering stock pot along with reserved meat, cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.  When veggies are tender, add milk, parsely, kale and a few dashes of black pepper, return to simmer.  Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.

Potato Leek Soup

For this soup I started with Julia Child’s classic French potato leek soup recipe from her book “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.” I found it a little bland so I added a few of my own special touches and it turned out AMAZING! I tricked my 10 year old into thinking it was potato cheese soup and she ate a whole bowl, which is a miracle since it’s hard to get her to even try new foods! Hope you enjoy as much as she did! ~Janna

Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients:

4 quart sauce pan
4 cups russet potatoes, skinned and cubed
4 cups leeks, cubed or chopped
2 quarts water
2 tsp salt (and probably more to taste)
1 tsp white pepper

1 Tbs butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tsp better than bouillon (vegetable)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 Tbs Italian parsley, chopped (more for garnish)

Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and leeks and boil until tender, 10 minutes or so depending on how big your potato chunks are. Once the potatoes and leeks are soft, take out 2 cups of the cooking liquid and turn heat to a simmer. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until creamy. You can use a food processor or blender but be careful with boiling liquids! Once the soup is creamy add the butter and better than bouillon and vinegar and stir to combine. Add the whipping cream a little at a time and stir after each addition. Add the white pepper and more salt if needed. Chop the parsley and add to soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more fresh parsley.