This ground turkey shepherd's pie is a hearty dish that the whole family will love! Cheesy mashed potatoes on top of ground meat and mixed vegetables in a flavor-packed sauce - it's the ultimate comfort food and so easy to make!
- Gorgeous presentation. Whether you have a gorgeous brightly-colored enameled skillet or are using a generations-old regular black cast iron, this pan can go straight from the oven to table.
- Leftovers are key. You can use up leftover veggies or potatoes when making this, AND the leftovers of the meal are also delicious.
- Super flavorful! Making your own gravy within the skillet of filling couldn't be easier.
- Great way to use thanksgiving leftovers! If you have any leftovers, turn them into the ultimate comfort food!
Shepherd's Pie is a traditional British dish that typically consists of minced or ground meat, such as lamb or beef, cooked with vegetables and savory seasonings. The meat mixture is then topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and baked until the potatoes develop a golden crust.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Ground Turkey - Lighten up the dish by using ground turkey. Select a mix of white and dark meat so it isn't too dry. We have so many flavors here there's no way the turkey will seem bland. Now of course for a more traditional version of shepherd pie, you can use ground lamb or beef - whatever ground meat you use, this is a great recipe!
Fresh Herbs - Cooking with fresh herbs gives this dish a savory flavorful filling. Fresh thyme and rosemary play so well with the rich gravy.
Sauce - Both tomato paste and barbecue sauce combine to make a really rich tomato-based sauce that will knock your socks off.
Vegetables - Both fresh and frozen are used here. It's perfect for adding lots of colors and fresh ingredients.
Potatoes - Mash your own potatoes for this dish as the flavor just can't be beat.
Cheese - I like cheddar for the way it crisps up in the oven.
Beef Broth - turkey or chicken broth works here too!
Chicken Bouillion Cube - this is to cook the mashed potatoes in. Just add it to a large pot of water prior to adding the potatoes. It makes a world of a difference and adds SO much flavor to those creamy mashed potatoes!
Worcestershire Sauce - I love using this in this easy shepherd's pie recipe - it adds SO much flavor. If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute it for soy sauce instead (same quantities).
- Evenly dice your carrots, onion, and celery. This will ensure everything cooks through and you won't have any super crunchy pieces.
- Use russet potatoes, as they have the right amount of starch to mash up smooth and fluffy.
- Make it quick! Skip boiling the potatoes and use instant potatoes instead! This cozy comfort food will be just as delicious!
- Add chicken bouillon cube to a large pot of boiling water. Carefully stir to ensure cube is fully melted into the water. Roughly chop the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash (Pro tip: I recommend using a potato ricer as opposed to a potato masher for super fluffy mashed potatoes), then add sour cream, melted butter, rosemary, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and diced fresh garlic. Mix together until smooth and set aside.
- Drizzle olive oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, and celery until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the tender veggies, stirring occasionally, and cook until no longer pink and fully cooked. Season with black pepper and kosher salt.
- Add remaining ingredients to the turkey mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower to a gentle simmer to let flavor develop.
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling in an even layer, and then top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until the edges are browned and bubbling and the cheese is browned, too.
This is already a riff on the classic shepherd's pie but you can customize it even further.
This is such a hearty dish, I feel it stands well on its own. You've got the meat, veggies, and a starch so you are all set! You could always mix up a nice side salad with balsamic dressing, or pick up a loaf of crusty sourdough or garlic butter parker house rolls to soak up every last drop of gravy.
I love the taste and the added texture of oven-baked cheese on top. Some may argue this isn't traditional, but food is all about making what you like for those you love so you do you.
Store leftover turkey shepherd's pie by:
This is a great meal for making ahead of time. I recommend making the filling and mashed potatoes and leaving them both separate in the fridge. Then when it's time to cook, assemble the dish while the oven preheats. Spread the filling in the skillet and cover with the mashed potatoes and cheese. Keep in mind it will need a few minutes extra cook time since you are starting from cold.
The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to sub in what you have on hand. Don't have corn? Use more peas. Use the peas and carrot mix from the freezer. Try the mixed veg blend. Leftover shredded chicken? No problem! Not a fan of turkey, use lean ground beef instead. This is perfect for using up whatever is in the fridge or whatever you prefer.
Ok, to be truly traditional, you'd want to use ground lamb. I just don't find that to be common at stores unless you have a large butcher shop in town. I know some don't prefer that taste of lamb, either. Cottage pie is a similar dish but uses beef, and that is also where the cheese generally comes in. I say make whatever you like and get dinner on the table!
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