In the kitchen with Phlip -- Shepherd's Pie

I saw a recipe that got my attention on one of those sites that pops up on MSN throughout the day one day this past week...
After printing and going all the way through it, I decided that I would need to make some major variations on it, so much to the point that linking to the recipe would be useless, because what I made was not what they made.

All that being said, today I made Shepherd's Pie, which is another of those "freestyle" dishes, in which it is what you make it and includes a LOT of different things. Meat/protein on the bottom, veggies in the middle and "crust/starch" on top. Choice of starches being bread, potatoes, whatever you got. Non-standards are what you create them to be.


As is customary with these, we will begin with a toolkit, which will include any food items you will or might need, as well as any specific cooking tools not made obvious by what you might see come forward.


Meat, 2 pounds... I don't do beef or pig, so I do ground turkey.


4 Medium/largish potatoes, in fact, be prepared to use about 2 pounds of potatoes, or a can of croissant/biscuit dough if you so choose.


2 tablespoons, curry.


Another package of the fajita mix like we used last Sunday.


Leftover vegetables from Regina's wedding reception... You weren't gonna use them otherwise.


1/3 cup, all-purpose flour.


1 can, chicken broth.


Ground ginger.


A potato masher, be prepared to do this by hand, as you need them COARSELY mashed, not creamed.

You will also need some salt and pepper and all such formalities to be added to taste as you so choose. Also not pictured, but to be mentioned later, is 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
Let's cook now.

Start by cutting the stalks off the broccoli and separating the florets as small as you can get them, dice up the celery and cut up the carrots, add whatever hard veggies you should decide you want.


(note, I added a little more after I took this picture)

Now, go ahead and begin boiling your potatoes.



Now, go ahead and begin browning the ground turkey.



5-10 minutes have passed, and the meat is browned, so add the curry AND flour now, mix it up really well and cook for one minute longer.


Now, add the chicken broth and leave on heat until it boils, then turn down to medium-lo heat until it starts to thicken.


This will now become the first layer in the bottom of the pan you will be baking this in. [note, use one as DEEP as you can find]


You're about to break the one-layer rule... Line the bottom of the pan, plus a bit more with the vegetable oil, then add ALL the vegetables to it on medium-hi heat.


Now, GO HARD with the Ginger, add as much as you think you can stand, keep on it with the spatula, using the onions as a judge of when you're done.


The vegetables become the next layer in the pie, spread them out on top of the meat.


Pour the water off of the potatoes, mash a little, add butter, milk (or PLAIN half & half if you're me and never have enough reasons to use milk to justify actually having it in your house), and the spoonful of minced garlic I neglected to mention, then go to town.


Once the potatoes are mashed to your preference, spread them out to top off the pie.


Now, you will sprinkle seasonings of your choosing on top.

Set the oven to 375ยบ and set it in.


35-45 minutes later, pull it out and take a picture of it.



If that SEEMED easy, it is because it WAS easy. My whole house smells like ginger right now, which happens to be one of my favorite smells on this PLANET.
This is one of those dishes that can be whatever you make it. F'rinstance, the one I used called for sweet potatoes instead of russets, also called for peas in the veggies but no broccoli, but I forgot to add them, so I will be eating them with something else later. Again, as I mentioned, I do not eat beef or pork, but you can use stew beef or even some pork product in the place of, as well as perhaps some chicken product as well should you so choose. Potatoes can be replaced with a dough of your choosing, whether you make it or buy it. Seasonings become whatever you want them to be, I was just living on my need to use my curry this weekend.
I think the variability of all of this is what makes these "freestyle" dishes I have done over the last couple of weekends so much fun. Total time spent on prep was about an hour, and this was with me having cut the vegetables this morning while I was planning this whole thing. Again, this is in the oven for about 40ish minutes or until the potatoes fall to the complexion of my mama, whichever happens first.


I have been trolling a few sites for more recipes to share on these, which will become my Sunday blogs. I cook, you all get to cook with me. I have a couple of ideas I been looking at, but I am not sure what I will do next.
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