Super Bowl is coming right up this weekend, and if you are thinking about serving food to a group, one candidate for a hearty afternoon is Shepherd's Pie. I grew up thinking of it as beef stew, minus potatoes, covered over with a crust of mashed potatoes. However, when I got older I discovered that some people thought of it absolutely as lamb stew treated the same way.
Be that as it may, I found a good basic recipe among the Huffington Post Food recipes, so if you think of it as a template you could even make more than one Shepherd's Pie by using different meats in different dishes, seasoned appropriately.
Think of the template as one onion, two ribs or celery and two chopped carrots per pie, along with the meat, seasonings and broth, thickened with flour or cornstarch. Run the mashed-potato crust over that and you can make enough for a group one way or another.
For example, one easy alternative is a chopped skinned chicken breast; beef stew meat can be bought prepared; and with a delicate cream sauce, even shrimp could go into a Shepherd's Pie if you wish. It might be a better option, even, than clam chowder or chili because you may find your guests less likely to spill. But serve everything in a bowl anyway. I would be picking up my clean, minimally-processed meat at Sprouts, which usually has lamb and is also quite affordable.
Since people like to drink beer while watching the game, all you need is a salad or veggie dip and your guests are set. Here's a template Shepherd's Pie to get you started.
TURKEY SHEPHERD'S PIE
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
20 oz. lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and pepper to taste
frozen vegetables (if desired)
1 cup shredded yellow cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish.
Place the potatoes in a large pot or dutch oven. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, pepper, sour cream and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.
When the potatoes pierce easily with a paring knife, remove from the heat and drain. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
Brown and crumble the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain. Sprinkle the turkey with the flour. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and cook over low heat until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in vegetables if desired.
Spread the turkey mixture evenly in the prepared casserole dish. Spoon the potatoes on top and spread out. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot and bubbly.