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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Turkey, Is It Pot Pie or Shepherd's Pie?

Ah, that is the question, isn't it.  Pot Pie has a crust on top, Shepherd's Pie has mashed potatoes on top.  So, do hash browns qualify it as one or the other?  Hmmm.  Whatever response you give is correct.  You could call this strawberry ice cream and I'd still think it was wonderful.  Cuisine at Home certainly hit a home run with this dish.  That's one magazine I'll bet most of you haven't heard of.  It's the magazine of the Cooking Club of America.  One of those oh, what the heck things I did many years ago.  I didn't join the life member deal but did the annual and got the usual ration of junque.  A magnet, scratch paper etc.  Cheesy.  Then, I found out I really liked the magazine because a lot of the recipes were quite good. So, I've been a member ever since.  This last issue I must've cut out 90% of the recipes.  But this one went into a stack of one.  Make now.  I couldn't get it out of my mind. 

The recipe went together very easily.  As usual, I made a couple of changes.  For starters, the package of ground turkey was two and a half pounds.  The recipe called for one and a half.  I could a) use extra turkey and increase most of the other ingredients or b) freeze the rest of the turkey only to take it out in a couple of years when it's nice and frostbitten and toss it.  Yup, I used it.  The same held true with the tomato paste.  Somewhere in the freezer I have a bag with little tablespoon sized dollops of tomato paste.  Somewhere is the operative word.  Besides, tomato paste tastes great and is good for you.  Enough of an excuse for me to use the whole six ounce can.  I also pre-cooked the vegetables so that they didn't have to have a separate round in the oven prior to getting topped with the hash browns and cheese.  There's something about a klutz and a hot baking dish and trying to mound has browns on a casserole that just told me following the recipe was not the optimal idea in this case.  So, there you have it.  As usual, I did it my way :-)

What did we think?  This is old-fashioned diner food.  True comfort food.  It was fantastic the first night and equally good for lunch the next day.  I gave a couple of freezer bags of it to Auntie Deb and took a couple more to the office for a day I don't have leftovers for lunch.  The additional tomato paste made the flavor that much richer.  I'll make it exactly the same way next time.

Turkey Pie


2 1/2 lb ground turkey
olive oil
1 1/2 c diced onion
1 1/2 c diced carrot
1 1/2 c diced celery
1 T garlic, minced
1 T fresh thyme, minced
3 T flour
2 T tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1 c chicken broth
1 c red wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Dijon mustard
1 c frozen green peas
salt and pepper
8 c frozen shredded hash browns
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese


Brown and drain the turkey.  Set it aside.  You'll note from the photos that I browned the turkey at the same time I sauteed the veggies.  It's always a trade-off between time and pots and pans to wash...  Time won.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large sauce pan and saute the carrots and onions and celery.  Add the garlic and thyme and let them get all happy together for about a minute.

Add the tomato paste and flour.  Now, remember I wound up adding the whole can of tomato paste I didn't want little tomato paste cubes wandering around my freezer and I love the stuff.  I'll absolutely do it again next time because it added a level of complexity to the flavor that was delicious.  The recipe called for cooking the tomato paste for about a minute.  That time needs to be about doubled to take the edge off the paste.
Next, you're going to stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, Worcestershire and Dijon mustard.  Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat and add in the turkey and the peas.  Pour it into a 9x13 baking dish.
Now comes the really fun part.  You top it with frozen hash brown potatoes.  Depends on how much of a potato layer you want.  I had about 3/4 of a bag of shredded hash browns.  I wanted them out of my freezer before freezer burn ruined them, so I used all of them.  
Last, but not least.   Shredded cheddar goes on the hash browns.  The recipe calls for white cheddar.  I buy Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar.  It's yellow.  Get over it. 
I know, I sound really cranky tonight, don't I.  Well, that's what you get when my brain break from writing a Social Security class is blogging about a wonderful turkey pie I had over a week ago...  I'd really like some of this now :-)

Look how wonderful and gooey that cheese is.  Oh, and the casserole. Fabulous!


The Mom Chef said...

I think I'd put this in the casserole category, but that's just me. :)

I love the idea though. And I really like the changes you made. Our family always cheers on more meat in a dish, even though our pocketbooks don't.

Several people have asked me to go through Cuisine at Home. I had no idea it was a part of that group (I was a member as well many, many years ago but never got the mag). I'll need to seek it out one of these months.

Eliotseats said...

Sounds like a great warming dish for upcoming cool weather. Using the hash browns is interesting.