It's a wonderful feeling having a stash of homemade shepherd's pie freezer meals, and other homemade freezer meals, tucked away for those times when the cook's just not feelin' it! Oh, I do plenty of cooking (or baking) nearly every day, but not necessarily cooking that results in dinner. Know what I mean?
The freezer is my friend!
Shepherd’s Pie Freezer Meals
(Makes 4 frozen meals for two)
I avoid the whole Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie / Lamb or Beef Controversy by making it with ground turkey. But in my family it's always been Shepherd's Pie, no matter what it's made of. And this is my big-batch version for multiple freezer meals.
The Meat Filling
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
The Mashed Potatoes
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
8 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 packed cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar
2 Start the filling before the potatoes to allow plenty of time for proper browning. In 12-inch straight-sided skillet (I use the All-Clad 6-Quart Saute Pan), heat oil and cook onion and carrots 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.