Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RECIPE: Skinny Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I'm sure you've heard by now that ground turkey is a suitable substitute for ground red meat.  Personally, I find this substitution to be inadequate, disappointing and tasteless.  I said it!  I will take beefy chili over turkey chili.  I will eat a juicy bloody burger before fussing with a turkey one smeared in avocado or whatever hippie topping it might have.  Beef just tastes better..in my opinion.

So then, why the ground turkey recipe?  The truth is, lean ground turkey is healthier. After the holidays, I need to tone it down in the kitchen (what do you mean I can't have short ribs every night?!).  So I've decided to take one of my favorite comfort foods and lighten it up without sacrificing any flavor.  I use tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and beef stock to trick the taste buds.  Instead of traditional ground lamb or beef I used 99% lean ground turkey.  I think you'll be surprised to find that my turkey pie is under 300 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 25 grams of carbs a serving...compare that to the Sheperd's Pie at your local Irish pub.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie
Makes 6 servings

1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup onioned, diced
2 Tb tomato paste
dash Worcestershire sauce
dash low sodium soy sauce
1 cup beef stock
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup frozen peas

For the topping:

3 Russet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/2 cup lowfat milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place peeled potatoes in a pot with cold water.  Bring to to a boil and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.

In a large non-stick pan over medium heat, break up turkey with the back of a spoon.  Continue to break up and cook turkey through.  Add carrots and onions.  Cook until veggies soften, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.   Add spices. Stir and add stock.  Bring to a boil, simmer and allow mixture to thicken.  About 10-15 minutes.  If you like it to be soupier, add a bit more stock.  If the mixture is still too soupy for you, add more tomato paste after 10 minutes.  Add frozen peas.  Pour mixture into a small 8x8 casserole dish.

Mash cooked potatoes with butter and milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Carefully smear potatoes over the top of the casserole dish.  Rough up the potatoes so the peaks will brown, or create cross hatches with a fork.  Bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes.  Since there isn't much butter in the potatoes, mine never browned (and I was hungry).  I think it tastes just as good if you pull it out at 20 minutes.