Friday, December 14, 2012

December Daring Cooks' Challenge - Shepherd's Pie

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 Hostess is Andy of Today’s the Day and Today’s the Day I Cook! Andy is sharing with us a traditional French Canadian classic the Paté Chinois, also known as Shepherd’s pie for many of us, and if one dish says comfort food.. this one is it!

Ah,  shepherd's pie. I love shepherd's pie. It's comfort food at its best - a one-dish comfort food meal made up of comfort food components. It doesn't get much better than that.

Shepherd's pie is a layered dish, with meat (or non-meat protein...) on the bottom, some sort of vegetable, then a topping of mashed potatoes.

Andy gave us lots of freedom to create our own version of this dish, and as soon as I read the announcement, I knew what I wanted to do. You see, the challenge was announced about a week before Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is notorious for leftovers. Leftovers generally including protein (turkey), vegetables (green beans, sweet potatoes) and potatoes (sometimes even mashed!).  Sounds like the perfect foundation for a shepherd's pie!

Unfortunately, the only thing I actually had as a real leftover from Thanksgiving was turkey, as my in-laws host a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner and plan very well, specifically allowing for leftover meat to send home with their kids.  So I had to make new... leftovers...

Actual leftover ham, boiled sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans.

All I had to do was layer them up.  I started with the turkey on the bottom, then a layer of stuffing.  I then drizzled those layers with gravy.

It's not thanksgiving without gravy.

Then the sweet potatoes and green beans, then the whole thing gets topped with the mashed potatoes.  Just look at all those layers!

The biggest problem with this was that it was super messy to serve.

And that it didn't have nearly enough gravy in it, as daddy and little miss were very quick to point out.

If I make this again next year (or, hey, any time I make turkey...), I will not only add more gravy, but I also want to try to incorporate the cranberry sauce, which I served on the side, in the dish somehow.

With how much I love shepherd's pie, I had really wanted to make several other versions as well, but the month totally got away from me.

Andy, thank you so much for this fun, delicious, inspired challenge.

To see the recipes that Andy provided to us for inspiration, you can check them out here.

And to see the other great versions cooked up in the Daring Kitchen this month, you can check them out here.

If you are looking for a recipe here, I actually don't have one, since I totally winged it, but I can tell you that I used one breast and one drumstick from an 18 pound turkey, about a cup and a half of stuffing, about one cup of gravy, one pound of green beans, two cut and boiled sweet potatoes and six russet potatoes, mashed with butter. Once everything was layered, I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, covered for the first 30, uncovered for the final 15. If you try this, absolutely let me know! And I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


  1. I like the "Thanksgiving" version of this challenge. Add cranberries and you have a full holiday meal!

  2. This is certainly a versatile dish - your Thanksgiving version was a creative use of the inevitable leftovers.

  3. Awesome idea! Love how you can see all the great layers! Delicious!!!

  4. I once saw Rachael Ray make something like this - I think yours looks better than hers. Looks pretty much like my plate on Thanksgiving.

  5. Thanks so much for participating in the challenge this month. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And I love the idea of a Thanksgiving themed shepherd's pie. It looks delicious!

  6. I did turkey too, and your version looks yummy.

  7. Looks like you got your mojo nack..everything you've made since we last spoke looks so that crockpot chicken. I totally forgot that this months DC challenge was Shepherd's Pie. Dang..really love it and wish I took part. Oh, well..yours looks incredible..but nothing new there! xo

  8. This is like the whole Thanksgiving meal in one dish! I love it! It looks so hearty and delicious!!! I took the southwestern theme with mine and it turned out great as well. This was a great challenge!

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