On the thirteenth day of Martin & Sylvia's Audio Advent Calendar, in the story “Woodshed Theater,” Martin and Sylvia's advent card comes with costumes and an idea that transforms into a Woodshed Theater production called “The King and The Beggar Have Christmas.”
At first, Martin's character, the King, doesn't want to have Christmas dinner with Sylvia's character, the Beggar. But the Beggar's magic bowl — which fills with turkey and potatoes and pie and cake — changes the King's mind, and the two eventually come together to dine in the spirit of the holidays.
In addition to having turkey and potatoes and, well, being a pie of sorts, this week's recipe can be, ideally, put together with holiday leftovers. Baked into this shepherd's pie, a few lingering slices of turkey and a pot of mashed potatoes become a miraculous second meal. How's that for a magic bowl?
In addition, you can easily divide this pie into three or four smaller dishes for baking. Parted out that way, it makes a lovely, dinner-delivery treat to take to friends in need of hearty, holiday nourishment.
Turkey Shepherd's Pie
(makes 1 large “pie” or 3-4 smaller ones)
- For the mashed potato topping:
about 3 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
- For the filling:
drippings from roasting the turkey or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
¼ cup vermouth, white wine, or chicken stock
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
⅔ cup cream
2 cups cooked, chopped turkey (recipe follows if you don't already have leftovers)
2 cups frozen broccoli or peas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
leaves from about 10 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
Chop the potatoes into a large stockpot filled with cold water. Bring the water to boil and cook until the potato pieces can be easily smashed with a fork, about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter, garlic, cream, and salt and pepper, then whip the potatoes with a stick blender. (I normally love chunkier, hand-mashed potatoes, but for this recipe you want them to be really smooth.) Allow the potatoes to cool slightly, then spoon them into a piping bag or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
If you've cooked a turkey specifically for this recipe, begin with the drippings in the same roasting pan you used to cook the turkey. If you're using leftover turkey, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on your stove top in a dutch oven or large, high-sided skillet. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook — stirring to coat them in the drippings — for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are just beginning to get tender.
Add the vermouth to the pan, and scrap the bottom to get up all the browned bits. Then add the flour, again, stirring well to coat the veggies. Allow the veggies and flour to cook for just a minute, then stir in the cream and milk.
Bring the mixture up to a simmer, and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, and stir in the turkey, frozen broccoli or peas, lemon juice, thyme, and salt and pepper.
Pour the turkey mixture into a broiler-proof baking dish (or dishes) that's tall enough to hold it and allow plenty of room on top for the potatoes. Smooth the mixture to make a flat surface, then pipe the mashed potatoes into little mounds on top.
Bake the shepherd's pie for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes start to turn golden and the filling bubbles up a bit. Finish the pie by putting it under a broiler on low heat (make sure it's set to low, so that your baking dish doesn't shatter and destroy your hard work) for 1-2 minutes to really brown the potato topping.
Citrus-Butter Roasted Turkey Breast
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, or clementines are all good)
1 approximately 5-pound turkey breast
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Mash the butter, salt, thyme, and the zest of two citrus fruits in a small bowl. With clean hands, smush the butter mixture into all the nooks and crannies of the turkey breast, concentrating on getting as much as possible crammed under the turkey's skin. Place the turkey in a roasting pan or dutch oven fitted with a rack, then squeeze the juice from the citrus over the top. Toss the remaining citrus skins and pulp into the roasting pan next to the turkey.
Put the turkey into your oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Let the turkey roast undisturbed for one hour, then begin checking its temperature with a meat thermometer. When the thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey, it's done. (If the turkey starts to look too brown during cooking, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top for the remaining cook time.)
Allow the turkey breast to cool slightly before slicing. This recipe makes plenty of turkey for the shepherd's pie above with at least enough leftovers for a second meal.
If you liked this recipe, here are others you might enjoy:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.