It’s officially sock weather in New York and that can only mean cooking something gravy-based and covered in mashed potatoes. I started working on this shepherd’s pie recipe after ordering an amazing plate of it in a nearby pub and vowing to recreate it. Half a dozen tries later, and I think I’m pretty happy with the final product, which is mostly a mix of a Joy of Cooking recipe (the best cook book for simple base recipes) and a Rachel Ray recipe I caught the last half of on TV.

You’re supposed to make it with ground lamb, but I find the ground turkey not only to be healthier, but also makes an otherwise brick-heavy dish to be a little lighter.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
splash of milk

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
1/2 cup chopped celery hearts (I like to throw in some chopped celery leaves)
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 cup vegetable stock
1 10oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cap full of Kitchen Bouquet
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dice and boil the potatoes until tender (10 or 15 minutes). Mash with a fork, mixing in milk, butter, salt, and pepper. I keep on the skins (it’s better for you and looks better, I think) but you don’t have to.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and celery and cook until the onions are translucent (5 minutes or so). Add the turkey and cook through, stirring regularly and breaking up the meat (another 10 minutes or so). Add peas and carrots, vegetable stock and sprinkle with flour (this thickens everything up) and cook stir for a few more minutes. Add spices and let simmer and thicken for about five minutes.

Transfer to a medium-sized casserole or baking dish. Cover with the potatoes, making irregular peaks with a fork. Dab with a little of butter and garnish with chives or fresh parsley. Bake for about 30 minutes, uncovered. Watch some football.

Go to last week’s Sunday Night Dinner.

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