In the English tradition, a cook uses leftover beef or lamb from last night's roast to make this hearty casserole. For the most basic shepherd's pie, you sauté some fresh vegetables, add in meat taken off the bone, and then add any jus or gravy to thicken up the filling and make it a little saucy. You put this filling into an oven-safe casserole dish, top it off with mashed potatoes, dot with butter, and bake until the topping gets a nice roasted brown hue.
What you don't know about shepherd's pie is that it is the perfect dish in which to use those Thanksgiving leftovers because there is no set recipe. Your shepherd's pie is based on what's available in the fridge the morning after Turkey Day. Personally, I like to go with very traditional flavors on Thanksgiving, and then go a little cross-cultural with the leftovers. So here is an Asian-inspired take on Shepherd's pie.
- 1/2 Cup diced carrots
- 1/2 Cup diced celery
- 1/2 Cup diced onion
- 1/2 Cup diced green onion
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced in half
- 1 Cup shelled edamame
- 1/2 Cup dry white wine
- 1 Pound leftover turkey meat, off the bone, pulled apart or chopped
- 4 Cups gravy
- 1/8 Cup soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 6 Cups mashed potatoes or mashed Japanese sweet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Crumbled nori or toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Lightly sauté the vegetables together in a medium-sized pot. When they are gently cooked, add the wine to deglaze and cook them until the alcohol smell wears off. Now, fold in the turkey meat and add the gravy, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Taste the mixture for proper seasoning.
Spoon the filling into a 12-by-8-inch casserole dish. Top it off with the mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes) and use a spatula to even it out on top. If you would like to increase the amount of crispiness, drag a fork across the topping to create more grooves. Dot with butter if you like.
Bake for 30 minutes. If you have a convection oven, turn on the fan. If the top is not as brown as you would like at the end of 30 minutes, use the broiler option to get a good crust. However, keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn.
Once you get the casserole to a desired look, let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.