This new post had two major motivations: (1) I’d signed up to make a dinner for a family who recently had a new baby, and (2) I was tired after a long and busy weekend, and so wanted to do something easy. That meant cooking from ingredients I had in the house rather than a shopping for specific ingredients, and using as few pans as possible.
I’ve made Shepherd’s Pie before. This recipe, I “faked.” Inspired by Mark Bittman’s strategy to simplify complicated recipes, I eliminated the time-consuming steps like mashing the potatoes and baking the entire casserole to create a crust. The herbs are based on what I remember from various shepherd’s pie recipes I’ve made in the past, so my apologies to any true connoisseurs for my cooking improvisation.
This dish has all the flavor but took a fraction of the time (less than half!), and only one dirty pan that I ran through the dishwasher.
I grabbed the fresh herbs from my deck, but used dried oregano because it was a longer haul out to my garden where that grows—a lazy dish indeed! And just in time for the cool weather.
- 5 medium potatoes
- 1 large onion (I used a red onion but any type will do)
- 1 pound ground turkey
- One cup white cooking wine
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 bag frozen peas (12 ounces)
- Olive oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Take the peas out of the freezer. You don’t need to defrost them, but this dish will cook faster if they’re not frozen solid.
- Wash, dry and dice the potatoes. Soak in a bowl of water to remove some of the starch. Just let them sit until you’re ready to use. I Idaho potatoes because that’s what we had, but I would have chosen red or yellow potatoes if I’d shopped. I don’t like peeling potatoes (as I’ve said, I don’t want to waste the fiber and nutrition), and the thinner skins on those types would work a bit better than the thicker skins of the Idahos.
- Dice onion. You’ll see in the photos that I used red onion, but any type will do.
- Warm up a large sauté pan on medium heat. When warm, add olive oil and swirl to coat (1-2 Tablespoons).
- Add onions, and sauté until they start to get translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
- Add more olive oil to coat the pan. Add ground turkey, breaking it up and mushing it around to ensure no big lumps. This will take about 5 minutes.
- When the rawness is gone and turkey is well broken up, add cooking wine, oregano and bay leaf.
- Drain the potatoes and add to the pan along with the cooked onions.
- Cover and turn down the heat to a simmer (level 2 out of 10 on my stove). Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Mince rosemary and sage and add to the pan.
- Add peas and cover again to be sure potatoes are cooked to the proper doneness and peas are hot but not mushy—test after 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste…or simply let diners add it at the table.