Something about fall weather, even more than the dog days of winter, but I get in the mood for something that sticks to your ribs and has a hearty lasting warmth in your belly meal.
And it just takes a tiny bit of extra effort to make two of these...
One for eating now...
And one for freezing for those rainy miserable days when you would just rather not get out from under the covers.
The modern definition (one I am using here) of a Shepherd's or Cottage Pie is a meat pie using leftover meat dishes, with a top crust of mashed potatoes. Thanks to the wonders of a store bought, pre-seasoned, already cooked Rotisserie Chicken, I had plenty of left over meat to make this dish. Historically, Mutton (the dish dates back to at least the 1700's), Lamb or occasionally beef was used. So, I'll use the modern definition, one of my beloved rotisserie chickens and give you all my recipe for a Chicken Shepherd's Pie...
But first, let me tell you all about the BEST mashed potatoes you have ever eaten. I have a secret ingredient... You may see the bacon in this (love bacon). But that's not the secret. The secret is frying up some apple chunks in the bacon fat. So all that flavor from the bacon and the bacon fat goes into the taters. Adding a little Cheddar Cheese and you have something really special!
So, first up, let's make a big batch of mashed potatoes...
- 5 pounds Red Potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on for texture and color)
- 1 Cup Half and Half
- 1 Cup grated Cheddar Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Onions, Diced
- 1 Cup Granny Smith Apples, cored, pealed and cut into a large dice
- 1/2 Pound Thick Cut Bacon, fried and chopped about the size of a quarter
- 2 TBS Salt
- 2 TBS Pepper
- First, in salted water, boil the potatoes for about 20-25 minutes until cooked and mashable.
- Meanwhile, Cut the bacon into quarter sized pieces and fry normally.
- Remove the bacon, reserving the fat. Add the apples and onions and saute until soft. Most of the bacon fat will absorb into the apples!
- Drain the potato water, in a large bowl or pot, add the potatoes, Bacon, Onion, Apples, Half and Half and Cheese.
- Start mashing. I like a chunky mashed potato. Use an electric mixer to get smooth potatoes.
- Salt and Pepper to taste... DELICIOUS!
I am listing this recipe separate as Shepherd's Pie is all about leftovers. I love to make this, so usually I am serving mashed potatoes for a meal and I just make a BIG batch so I can make this up the next day.
And now it's time to make the meat pie part...
Rotisserie Chicken Shepherd;s Pie (double the recipe if you want an extra dish to freeze or share)
- 4 Cups Mashed Potatoes
- 2 TBS Butter
- 2 TBS Flour
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 1 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup Diced Carrots
- 1 Cup Frozen Corn, rinsed in hot water to thaw
- 1 Cup Frozen Peas, rinsed to thaw
- 1 TBS Salt
- 1 TBS Pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- First, make a roux, in a heated heavy bottom frying pan, melt the butter. Heat to just before it starts to brown Add the flour to the heated butter and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add the onions and continue stirring for another couple of minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer... still stirring
- Add the carrots and simmer for 5 minutes to soften
- Add the chicken,
- Add the remaining vegetables, alt and pepper.
- Pour all of this into a casserole dish, top with the mashed potatoes
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes get a crusty top.
- Cover with foil and freeze if you want to save for a rainy day or Enjoy popping hot and fresh!
- When serving for presentation, I put the potatoes on the bottom of the plate and top with the soupy chicken/vegetable mix... Heartwarming!
Really delicious with a Garlic Cheddar Roll (ala Red Lobster)
You get the idea. From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking). More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work
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