I'd never even heard of Shepherd's Pie until I was in the middle of the 4th grade lunch line. Stepping out of the queue to see mounds of grayish ground beef speckled with the lonely carrot or pea and covered in instant mashed potatoes sail by on my classmates' lunch trays did not make me excited that I'd forgotten my lunch that day. I still curse that day, come to think of it...
This Shepherd's Pie is not comprised of instant anything or even leftovers. If you have a few more minutes to bake this, I highly recommend it! It's filling and if there's just two of you, the leftovers taste great for the next few days!
Shepherd's Pie with a Vegan Option
1/2 lb ground turkey breast OR tub of extra firm tofu*, crumbled
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 stalks of celery, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
1 t rubbed dry sage or 1 T fresh chopped sage
1 t crushed dried rosemary or 1 T fresh chopped rosemary
2 pounds new or red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into large chunks
Healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of milk or soy milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup, gluten free
Hungarian paprika for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Get a pot of generously salted boiling water going with the chunked potatoes in them. While your potatoes are boiling, brown the ground turkey breast in a dry skillet, breaking up the meat as you go. Cook until there isn't any pink left and set aside.
*If using tofu, let the crumbles sit in a marinade of 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 3 T soy sauce, 1 t hot chili sauce, 1 crushed piece of ginger, and 2 T extra virgin olive oil. Let this sit until ready to assemble your pie.
In a large saucepan covered in extra virgin olive oil, saute the onions, carrots, and celery. Add a little salt to help the onions caramelize a bit. Add the sage, rosemary, and pepper to taste. Once the veggies have softened, add the cooked turkey or the drained tofu crumbles. Once well combined, add the can of condensed mushroom soup. Stir well and turn off heat after the mixture is heated trough.
Your potatoes should be done, check to see if they are easily pierced with a knife. Drain and mash with the 1/4 cup of milk or soy milk, healthy drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a large baking dish that's been drizzled with a little olive oil, cover the bottom with your turkey or tofu mixture, making sure it's level. Add the mashed potatoes on top, sealing the edges. Sprinkle some Hungarian paprika on top, cover with tin foil, and bake for 30 minutes until piping hot in the center. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking to crisp up the potatoes. Remove from oven and let sit for another 10 minutes and then serve! This is the furthest away from a school lunch you can get!
P.S. For all you vegan kids, I found a great mushroom soup that you can use in this recipe! It's Imagine Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup. It's gluten free, too! You won't have to use the entire carton for this recipe, but the soup is so great on it's own. Since this isn't a concentrated soup, you may have to simmer your tofu/veggie/soup mixture a little longer to thicken up the sauce!