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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 as accompaniments. Ground turkey breast is leaner, but ground turkey, which includes a measure of dark meat, is moister and more flavorful.
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 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 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 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 a heavy large saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and dry tarragon; cover and cook until the leeks are tender but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until the turkey is no longer pink, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the turkey and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Gradually stir in the broth, wine and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the vegetables and simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season the 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 a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a shallow 13 x 9-inch rectangular baking dish. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot. Set over low heat and stir the potatoes 1 minute to remove any excess water. Mash the potatoes.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat. Add the fresh tarragon and cook 1 minute. Add the half-and-half; bring to just a simmer. Gradually stir into the potatoes and beat with a spoon until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool until almost room temperature. Mix in the eggs.
Spread the turkey mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread the potato mixture evenly over the turkey and to the edges of the dish; smooth top. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, score a shallow diamond pattern over the potatoes. Bake until the casserole bubbles and the potato topping is firm and lightly browned, about 1 hour.
Cool 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.
Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Michael McLaughlin.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
661 calories; 31g total fat; 279mg cholesterol; 281mg sodium; 51g carbohydrates; 6g fiber; 42g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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