15 August 2013

Skillet Shepherd's Pie


Shepherd's Pie has always been the classic comfort food for people with ties to Britain, but lately I've been getting requests for it from friends of all sorts of ethnicities! I've had occasions when I've asked friends what they'd like me to make for them and, out of all the elegant and expensive possibilities, they said "Make your shepherd's pie." Okay! That's easy! 

Last month I made it for Limey Day (so named by one of the husbands!). That's the day every three months when three of us get together to watch British films and television. We start at 10:30 in the morning with a good chinwag along with tea and scones and various things, watch videos, have lunch, watch videos, have dessert and tea, watch videos, have snacks and wine, watch videos, maybe have some lunch leftovers and watch more videos until we just can't take it any more! For that occasion, I made my regular Shepherd's Pie.


Sometimes I make my Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie (this photo). Both of those are baked in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish, with a layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom as well as the top. This Skillet Shepherd's Pie is what I do when I'm making a smaller amount and I want to hurry things along a bit. Of course, if your skillet can't go into the oven, you can always put the pie in an 8-inch square baking dish.

In case you're wondering, we watched the first season of Mr Selfridge this time. Couldn't hang in long enough to watch all ten episodes, so had to watch the third disc another day. Have you seen it? It's delicious!

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

(Serves 4)

I avoid the whole Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie / Lamb or Beef Controversy by making it with turkey. But in my family it's always been Shepherd's Pie, no matter what it's made of. And this is my quick, no-muss-no-fuss version, meaning it is baked right in the same skillet.

The Potato Topping

2 pounds russet potatoes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Cheddar

The Meat Filling

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 Pare the potatoes and rinse and quarter them. Put the potatoes in a 2-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2 In the meantime, prepare filling. In oven-safe 12-inch slope-sided skillet (I use the All-Clad 5112 Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan), heat oil and cook onion about 5 minutes or until soft. Add ground turkey and brown well. Proper browning, rather than just "graying," gives the finished dish a richer flavor, making it well worth the extra time it takes. If using very lean ground meat, as I do, there is no need to drain the fat from the pan. A lot of moisture comes out of the turkey and must evaporate before any browning can occur. Add Worcestershire sauce toward end of browning. 

3 When meat is browned (which can take a long time, at least 20 minutes, with lean turkey), add chopped carrots and cook about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over all and mix thoroughly. Stir in diced tomatoes and seasonings and cook about 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and remove from heat. Smooth the top.

4 When potatoes are done, drain completely, cover and set over low heat for half a minute to dry thoroughly. Remove from heat, mash, add butter and continue mashing. Stir in milk, salt, pepper and grated Cheddar. Potatoes will be a bit looser than you would make to serve as mashed potatoes; this makes spreading easier.

5 Spread the mashed potatoes in even layer over the meat. Can be made the day before. Cover and refrigerate until 65 minutes before serving time. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover and bake for 55 minutes. (You won't need to bake it that long if you're not making it ahead and refrigerating it.) Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.


28 comments:

Sandra said...

this looks delish and is also pretty to look at, mothers was just potatoes plumped on the top.. yes, there is something about trains and i love retro anything

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sandra, thank you! The swirls are kind of pretty, aren't they? The main reason I do them is so the top will brown nicely as only the swirls will do!

Cranberry Morning said...

I haven't had Shepherd's Pie for about 40 years! And it wasn't nearly as pretty as yours. But boy that looks delicious. I'm pinning your recipe, and I hope to make it soon!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

What?! And YOU call yourself an Anglophile! You better make this right away, Judy, before your card is revoked!

Melissa S. said...

Limey Day sounds great. Can I come?

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Melissa, it IS soooo much fun!

Grant said...

Well that looks darn delicious! I have to admit its one of my faves, though I've never made it in a skillet before! And I love the idea of your 'limey day', having a theme day like that on a regular basis sounds like a life enhancing thing to do :-)

Trish said...

I loved your pictures ... I bet it was delicious as well ... It would be awesome if you could post pics of how you did the swirl ... I can imagine it won't be too complicated ... but non-artistic novice cooks like myself have absolutely no clue on how to make it happen!

Jenn S said...

The potatoes on this dish look amazing, Jean! I love that you have Limey Day.. sounds like so much fun!

Angie Schneider said...

Can't even remember when I last had a shepherd's pie..The swirled topping looks so sexy!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Grant! Yes, that quarterly Limey Day does the three of us a world of good. Every time, we find ourselves saying how much we needed it!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Trish, that's a great idea! Next time I make it, I'll try to remember to take a photograph of the "swirling" and add it to the post.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Jenn, I learned from my mother that you have to "make it pretty." Though she took it way beyond what I ever take the time to do. I swear, that woman out-Martha'd Martha (Stewart) before Martha came on the scene!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Angie! My husband had never had shepherd's pie until he took up with me! But his mother had made something called Chinese Pie, which is a Quebec thing I'm going to post one of these days.

yummychunklet said...

Love the pretty mashed potato top!

Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne said...

Yum! One of my favorite dishes (and my husband's a fan too)!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, yummychunklet!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Of course, Olympe, if YOU attended our Limey Day we'd have to give attention to our wardrobes, perhaps coming in period costumes!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

“Limey Day” – love it! Get something with Terence Stamp in there. His latest – “Unfinished Song” – may be the best movie I’ve ever seen. But shepherds pie, shepherds pie…yes, I’ll take it with ground carcass of dead animal, please. Hold the potatoes (my Irish doesn’t run that deep). A not dissimilar dish from what I call Mexican Dragon, though sour cream and cheese are a departure.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

But Sully, these mashed potatoes have cheese in them. And you could even put sour cream in them. Trust me on this! Thanks for the movie tip. I love both Terence and Vanessa, so I'm sure to enjoy this film. And it would be perfect for October's Limey Day!

LANA said...

Shepherd's pie is one of my hubby's favorite meals, it never occurred to me I could make it in a skillet. As always your photos make my mouth water! I love your Limey Day idea, we love BBC and watch the sit-coms and shows all the time. Right now I am in the middle of all the "Cladderford" episodes!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

I haven't seen that one yet. I caught one episode on PBS and thought it was great, then I forgot to check for it on Netflix. Thanks to you, I now have it in my queue! Looks perfect for Limey Day!

Sippity Sup said...

Limey, that is a drinking term you know! GREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Well, Greg, I'm not going to lie to you - there may or may not be a little drinking involved with Limey Day!

Wedgie said...

Oh, that looks so yummy! My mum always used to make (lamb) shepherds pies when we were little, which I can clearly remember not liking very much. When I got together with my current boyfriend about 6 years ago he reintroduced me to the delights of a good shepherds/cottage/Cumberland pie and I'm glad he did!

Rachel

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Rachel, you made me laugh about the lamb! Read my post from a couple weeks before this one and see what I think of lamb!

Karol Sophia said...

This looks delicious! Found this on Pinterest and can't wait to try it out this fall as a perfect comfort food meal.

Would love to learn how you twirled the mashed potatoes to make them look so pretty.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Karol! I just used a fork and started on the outside and worked in.

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