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Turkey-Herder's Pie

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Active Time:  30 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 30 Minutes
  Serves 8
Classic shepherd's pie, consisting of leftover roast leg of lamb chopped, mixed with leftover gravy and vegetables and baked under a thick crust of mashed potatoes, is one of the great casserole dishes. A little lighter than that, but equally delicious, is this savory ground turkey-based variation, which does not require you to have a leftover leg of lamb on hand. The tarragon-scented results are just as comforting as the original and can be served pretty much as a one-dish meal, with only a salad and some homemade biscuits or dinner rolls by way of accompaniment. Ground turkey breast is leaner, but ground turkey, which includes a measure of dark meat, is moister and more flavorful.
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; from about 2 large leeks)
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
3 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup dry white wine
One 16-ounce bag mixed frozen vegetables (preferably broccoli, corn and red peppers), thawed, well-drained

3 1/2 pounds (about 6 large) russet potatoes, peeled, quartered

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup half and half
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and dry tarragon; cover and cook until leeks are tender but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add turkey and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over turkey and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Gradually stir in broth, wine and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add vegetables and simmer uncovered until liquid reduces slightly and thickens, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season turkey mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Turkey mixture can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate, returning to room temperature before proceeding.

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter shallow 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish. Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to same pot. Set over low heat and stir potatoes 1 minute to remove any excess water. Mash potatoes.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Add fresh tarragon and cook 1 minute. Add half and half; bring just to simmer. Gradually stir into potatoes and beat with spoon until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool until almost room temperature. Mix in eggs.

Spread turkey mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly over turkey and to edges of dish; smooth top. Using handle of wooden spoon, score shallow diamond pattern over potatoes. Bake until filling bubbles and potato topping is firm and lightly browned, about 1 hour.

Cool 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Recipe created exclusively for by Michael McLaughlin.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 8
Calories: 661
Fat. Total: 31g
Fiber: 6g
Carbohydrates, Total: 51g
Sodium: 281mg
% Cal. from Fat: 42%
Cholesterol: 279mg
Protein: 42g
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