A traditional tasting shepherd’s pie with a splash of whiskey for flavor and a colorful twist!
Halloween left me feeling a little ghoulish so I made you a colorful dish that is both a trick and a treat.
Topped with fluffy whipped purple potatoes it looks a little creepy and kooky. The potatoes may be the color of grape powdered drink mix but close your eyes and the taste is all spud. It is hard to beat the creamy goodness of homemade mashed potatoes. They are so good that no one will suspect a sneaky half pound of cauliflower is hiding in their midst. Tricky!
If the mashed potatoes aren’t treat enough, below the violet taters is a savory mix of meat and veggies seasoned not only with the usual suspects but taken over the top by a generous splash of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Mmmm my kind of treat.
Serve hot with a salad on a dark and stormy night for a frightfully delicious, and a little out of the ordinary, fun.
Tips & Adjustments:
- Add peas. This dish is traditionally made with peas and if you have them add 1/2 a cup.
- Use lean ground beef or buffalo in place of ground turkey.
- Use small oven safe dishes to make individual servings.
- Make the top of small or large Shepherd’s Pies extra fancy by piping the whipped potatoes over the meat and vegetables.
- Substitute low fat buttermilk for half & half to put a little extra pep in your potatoes.
- 1 lb lean ground turkey (90/10)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried Herbs de Provence mix
- 2 cups or 1 large yellow onion, diced into ¼ inch cubes
- 1½ cups or 4 celery stalks, diced into ¼ inch pieces (halve the wider portion of the stalks)
- 2 cups or 4 large carrots, peeled and diced into ¼ inch cubes
- 2½ tablespoons low sodium tomato paste
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ cup whiskey
- kosher or sea salt & pepper - to taste
- Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs potatoes, with or without peel as preferred, cut into four inch chunks
- ½ lb fresh cauliflower, cut into three or four large pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup fat free half & half
- salt - to taste
- Have a large 13 x 9 casserole dish standing by. Wash and set aside the potatoes. Place a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat, cover and allow it to boil while beginning the next step.
- Sprinkle a large sauté pan with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, brown the ground turkey over medium high heat. While the turkey is cooking season with dried herbs, two pinches of salt (about ¼ tsp), and several grinds of a pepper mill. Once meat is fully cooked remove to a small dish and set aside.
- Add potatoes and cauliflower to the now boiling water. Cook until they are easily pierced by a butter knife - about 15 minutes.
- Use the same pan to cook the diced vegetables. Cook the onions, celery, and carrots until they begin to soften - stir frequently. Once vegetables have softened add the cooked turkey back into the pan. Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Whiskey. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Before transferring the mixture to your casserole dish. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface into an even layer. At this point begin preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
- When the potatoes and cauliflower are soft and flakey remove them to a large mixing bowl. Begin by mashing with a potato masher or fork. When they have broken down into small fluffy pieces add the butter, half and half, and ¼ tsp of salt. Whip the potatoes with an electric mixer starting low and increasing to high speed to get them really fluffy. Taste potatoes and add additional salt if needed to brighten the flavor.
- Spoon mounds of the whipped potatoes all over the meat and vegetable layer. Use the back of a spoon to smooth potatoes into an even layer. Place into the preheated oven (375) and bake for 20 minutes. For a darker crust finish under the broiler for 1 - 2 minutes.
P.S. I have been trying for months to come up with a post about potatoes so I could share this song with you. It is a delight from start to finish and came highly recommended to our family by my aunt Mary who is also a clever folk singing word smith. I give you Cheryl Wheeler’s Potato Song!