This👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼. This right here is why I am obsessed with cold weather food. I mean, is it LITERALLY possible to get more cozy and comforting than shepherd’s pie?? Hearty meat and veggies coated in a light gravy topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked?! Um, right. I didn’t think so.
This is like the ultimate “bring to your friend who just had a baby” or “bring to your coworker who just had surgery” dish. Why? Well, first of all because it’s #BAE. Second of all, this will bring comfort and happiness to anyone in any situation. Food can totally lift your spirits. A steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold night, a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup, a homemade casserole – those things are comforting and make you feel warm and fuzzy. If you don’t know what I mean, then send me your address and I’m going to come over and cook a cozy meal for you and you’re going to have to look me in the eyes and tell me it doesn’t make you feel the most comforted and warm and fuzziest of all time.
Basically my goal in life is cozy and warm. It’s how I like to cook, it’s how I like to decorate my house (um, hello creams and grays and cable knit blankets), it’s how I like to dress – it’s EVERYTHING. And this shepherd’s pie is the food equivalent of creams and grays and cable knit blankets – catch my drift?
Awesome. I’m so glad we’re on the same page.
Now, here’s the deal. I love to lighten up recipes however I can and make them a little bit healthier. I was considering going hardcore “lighten” with this one and using no butter, half cauliflower and half potatoes in the mashed topping, etc…but I decided I had to keep some comfort food elements in here or we would lose the trademark flavor and coziness THAT IS shepherd’s pie.
We do take some lightening steps though:
- Ground turkey instead of ground beef. This is a HUGE one – less calories, less fat, and just overall better for you. People’s beef (ha ha – get it??) with ground turkey is usually that it is dry and bland. Well I can promise you with everything in my whole life that this ground turkey is neither of those things. The fact that it is sitting in a flavor bomb gravy/sauce takes away any trace of bland dryness. Trust me – you will NOT feel like you are making a sacrifice here.
- The mashed potatoes. We do add butter. We do add cream cheese (my mashed potato trick). We do add half and half. BUT, we add very little of each element. Just a few tablespoons of each, and then we thin out the potatoes the rest of the way with chicken stock. Again, you really can’t tell that you’re making any health sacrifices here. You still get the flavor and richness from all three ingredients, but by lessening the amounts, you greatly lessen the calorie intake. It’s a win win, yo.
Now we need to spend some time talking about the gravy. Ohhhh holy shepherd’s pie, that gravy. Once we have browned the turkey and cooked the vegetables a bit, we make a roux (combo of flour and butter) right in the pan with everything else. Then we stir in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, let it cook for a bit, and add some chicken stock. Simmer until perfectly thick and luxurious. It’s smooth – it’s slightly thick – it coats everything perfectly – it is extremely flavorful.
That gravy + meat + veggie combo goes into the bottom of a baking dish and is topped with your smooth, rich mashed potatoes and baked to bubbly perfection.
YES shepherd’s pie forever. If cooking was a competition, dis baby comes in first pa-lace.
You know what I DON’T like about this recipe? Peeling. Potatoes. Peeling potatoes is the bane of my existence. Do you have something with cooking that you absolutely HATE? For some people, it’s slicing onions. For some, it’s mincing garlic. For me, it’s peeling potatoes – aka the most mundane and annoying task ever. It’s not so bad with russet potatoes because they are so much bigger, meaning you have to peel less of them and their size makes them easier to handle and peel.
BUT – we use small potatoes here because they have more of a smooth and dense texture when cooked and mashed, whereas russets are more fluffy. Meaning? Meaning you have to peel a crap ton of small potatoes. Maybe you don’t mind peeling potatoes and you think I’m being highly over dramatic right now. Or maybe you feel me on this and we can join together in our quest of an invention that peels potatoes for you.
I mean, come on. There are SO MANY random and unnecessary kitchen gadgets out there. An avocado tool. A pomegranate de-seeder. A WATERMELON KNIFE. Like…what. That last one blows my mind. If they have made all these things, why – oh why – have they not invented some brilliant potato peeling device? Maybe they have and I’m behind on the news.
Anyway, the fact that I hate peeling potatoes so much but love this dish enough to make it every night should tell you something about how delicious it is. Which is very.
Thank God for chilly weather so we can make cozy meals like this 😍.
This recipe has 11 smart points per serving!Print
Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Hearty ground turkey and vegetables coated in a smooth, flavorful gravy and topped with creamy, rich mashed potatoes and baked to bubbly perfection. The ultimate comfort food dinner!
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
For the filling
- 2 pounds lean ground turkey
- 12 oz bag frozen mixed veggies, I got the kind that has peas, corn, carrots, and green beans
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Fat free cooking spray
For the mashed potato topping
- 2 pounds potatoes (red potatoes or yukon gold both work great), peeled and diced
- A few big spoonfuls of chicken base (optional, but it adds a lot to the potatoes – found in chicken stock section of grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1 egg
For the mashed potato topping
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add a few big spoonfuls of chicken base
- Add your peeled and diced potatoes and cook until fork tender
- Drain and add back to the pot. Add salt and pepper, your butter, cream cheese, half and half, and chicken stock. Beat with an electric mixer until totally smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Let it cool for a bit and then beat in your egg
For the filling
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add some fat free cooking spray, your turkey, and some salt and pepper. Brown the turkey
- When browned, add your frozen veggies, your onion, and more salt and pepper. Cook until veggies have softened
- Add your tomato paste, oregano, garlic powder, and nutmeg. Cook this mixture for a few minutes, stirring often
- Add your butter and stir around until melted. Add your flour and stir to combine. Let this cook for a minute or two and then pour in your chicken stock
- Bring to a simmer and simmer until thickened, stirring often. Add your Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper
- Pour the filling into the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart oval baking dish (you can use a 9×13 if you don’t have the oval baking dish). Top with mashed potatoes and smooth potatoes into an even layer over top of the filling
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Put a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath the shepherd’s pie in case some of the filling boils over
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 387
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 294 mg
- Fat: 13 g
- Carbohydrates: 33 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 33 g
- Cholesterol: 161 mg
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
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