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This is snowy day comfort food. Tomorrow Andy and I are going skiing for the first time this season. After a long, tiring, day of fun on the slopes we will come home to pop this in the oven and enjoy a hearty bowl of homey goodness.

I first had Shepherd’s Pie just last year while we were visiting Andy’s parents for Christmas. His aunt and uncle wanted to make dinner for everyone. On a day when we got two feet of snow, nothing could have hit the spot more perfectly! This version is modified from Clean Eating, so fill up your bowl without worry. The mashed potato crust is made with buttermilk which gives it lots of tangy flavor but has very little fat. I have added a little cheese but it’s a low fat variety adding flavor and texture without adding too much fat. To the meat I’ve added extra veggies, extra tomato paste, and worcestershire sauce for richer flavor. This meal truly has the taste of comfort food but the calories of healthy food…You can’t beat that!

**Update 12/6/13: We recently purchased some locally grown all-natural, grass fed beef. It is about 97% fat free. I used 1 lb of the ground beef and replaced the chicken stock with beef stock in this recipe and it was truly delicious! Either way, beef or turkey, I hope this warms your insides on a cold night.

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1.5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks for boiling
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano  regiano plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 Tbsp chopped, fresh chives
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (that’s the weight mine comes by, if yours comes in packages of 1 lb that is fine.)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups of carrots cut into half moons
  • 1 cup diced celery stalk
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 of a 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Season a large pot of water with salt. Add the potatoes and garlic and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender enough to mash with a fork. Drain well and place the potatoes back into the pot for 1-2 minutes to allow the residual heat from the pot to dry out any excess water. Mash well with a potato masher, add buttermilk and chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano. (Depending on my mood or what I have on hand I sometimes add in a couple of ounces of cream cheese too shhh…)  Set potatoes aside.

Heat about 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring, and breaking up, until browned. Drain fat from the pan. Remove turkey from pan into a bowl or a plate and set aside.

Set the nonstick skillet back onto heat and add another tsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

I pretty much forgot to take pictures of the cooking process but I did manage to snap this one of the veggies:DSC_0002

Add the turkey, the 1 cup chicken stock, 1/2 can tomato paste, 2 tsp worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp thyme. Continue cooking and stirring, breaking up the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When most of the liquid is absorbed (about 5 minutes), pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish.

Top the meat and vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes. At this point you can cool and refrigerate for use on another day, or sprinkle with desired amount of parmigiano regiano and bake for about 30 minutes until it is bubbly and the top is slightly browned.

This can easily be made in individual ramekins. Today I set some aside in a ramekin for my lunch, the rest is safely in its large baking dish ready to be devoured after a day of skiing!DSC_0007

For the sake of getting a photo, I had to take a bite or two:DSC_0010But I somehow just kept on going and soon, this was all that was left! DSC_0014It was good to the last bite. 🙂