Thursday, August 03, 2006

The definitely not 30 minutes Shepherd's Pie

I just got Rachel Ray 365: No Repeat from the library a few day ago. After browsing through some of the recipes, I was quite excited about some of the combinations, which I have never thought of. The idea of having 365 dishes, no repeat for a whole year is quite liberating. No more dull days having to eat the same thing ever again! Not to mention all these recipes require only 30 minutes to prepare.

Before this book, I actually tried some of Rachel Ray's recipes. They were all pretty easy and tasty. That's the reason why I am so looking forward to try the recipes in this book.

Today, I started off with her 30 minutes Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie. One thing for sure, it takes longer than 30 minutes for me. It took me almost an hour in fact. I am sure it will take 30 minutes if all ingredients were prep beforehand, and all I need to do is just cooking. Too bad, that's not the case here. I have to scrub, peel, cut and boil my potatoes. I am not complaining since I also take more of less the same amount of time to cook my daily meal.

Rachel Ray's Shepherd's pie appeals to me because it uses ground turkey, which is generally healthier than other meat. Also it sneaks in many veggies in its filling. But I will make it with other meat next time just for comparison sake. Instead of baking the pie in the oven for 30-40 minutes, Rachel's recipe cooks the filling on stove, and broil the mashed potato covered filling for only a few minutes. With the mercury rising, it certainly help to minimise the use of the oven.

OCT likes the pie and asked me repeatedly if the top is made of mashed potatoes. I wonder if he would ever remember it when I ask him again next week.

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie
serves 4-5

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons EVOO - extra-virgin olive oil - 2 turns of the pan
1/4 pound smoky bacon or turkey bacon, chopped
1 1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, available in small cans on spice aisle of market
(You may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each sweet paprika and cumin combined)
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons, 5 or 6 sprigs, fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, beaten
10 to 12 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, to the skillet. Add bacon and brown it up, then add ground turkey to the pan and break it up. Season the turkey with smoked paprika, salt and peppe,r and thyme. When turkey browns up, add: onions, carrots, celery. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper and peas cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook flour 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and combine. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine. Simmer mixture over low heat.

Preheat your broiler to high.

When potatoes are tender, add a ladle of cooking water to the egg. Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out a little. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, butter, half of the chives, and salt and pepper. Smash and mash the potatoes, mashing in the beaten, tempered egg. If the potatoes are too tight, mix in a splash of milk.

Pour turkey mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top turkey with an even layer of smashed potatoes and place casserole 5 inches from hot broiler. Broil the potatoes until golden at edges and remove the casserole from the oven. Garnish the casserole with the remaining chives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

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