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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie

Sometimes all I want from this world is a little comfort food. A meal that can set me down, pat me on the head and say, "There, there, Katie. It's ok now." Tell me you don't feel me on that...actually, don't tell me that. I'd like to go on thinking that this is a normal occurrence for everyone. 
Well this week was one of those such weeks that makes you want to curl up into a little ball and pull the covers way over your head. I needed my food soul mate to tell me everything would be ok. And if it wasn't going to just show up on my doorstep, then I would be forced to coerce it into being myself. 
I guess that's just what you have to do in life now and again. Occasionally you just have to make it what you want it to be if it's hell-bent on refusing to cooperate with you. Nothing some sweet potatoes and ground turkey can't handle I'm sure...

Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie: Servers 6ish

2  sweet potatoes (or yams), about 1 1/2 lbs. cut into 1 inch cubes 
3-4  small parsnips (big parsnips have woody stems, always look for thinner ones) 
4-5  small carrots
1  medium-sized yellow onion 
2  stalks of celery 
1c. frozen peas
2  eggs
2 Tbs. milk
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. flour 
1  lb. ground turkey; love the ground dark meat from Whole Foods Market! 
2  cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. each freshly chopped rosemary and thyme (optionally delicious) 
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
Sprinkle of nutmeg
2-3 Tbsp. worcestershire
2 tsp. Kosher salt
Pepper to taste 

1) Preheat your oven to 375. Start out by filling a large pot with cold water and chopping
    up your sweet potatoes/yams. Place the potatoes in the pot and set over high heat. Allow 
    to cook while you:
2) Chop up your parsnip, carrot, celery, and onion into pieces. See pictures below for size 
    and procedure. 
3) In a large dutch oven or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, brown your turkey bits 
    with a tiny bit of cooking oil  until browned throughout. Remove from pan and set aside. 
4) Drizzle another Tbsp. full or so of oil in the pan and toss in the parsnip, carrot, celery, and 
    onion. Cook until the carrots and parsnip are tender and begin to caramelize slightly. Add 
    in the garlic for the last couple minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium. 
5) Melt the 2 Tbs. butter and mix with the 3 Tbs. flour. Add the butter/flour mixture and
    stir well into the veggies. Allow the flour mix to brown lightly
6) Toss in your cider and stock, make sure to scrape up all of the delicious bits from the
    bottom of the pan. Add in all of your spices and worcestershire. Allow to simmer for 
    about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture slightly thickens. Season to taste (salt & pepper).
7) Add your peas, fresh herbs, and turkey and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. 
8) Drain and mash up your sweet potatoes/yams. Add in 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. milk. 
    Salt and pepper to taste. I added a little extra nutmeg too! Crack your eggs into a little bowl 
    and slowly add in bits of the potato mix, stirring to combine, until the eggs are tempered
    Add it back into the mash, stir well and spread over the top of the veggies/turkey mix.  
9) Pop it in the oven and let it go for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool a sec, dish up 
    and enjoy! 
Whenever you're cooking like this you'll always want to make sure your bits are uniform. Check out the breakdown of how to get even pieces of carrot, parsnip, or celery above. Halve it, halve each piece again, and then one more time...then chop it into pieces! Easy-peasy.  

Whenever you're adding eggs into something hot you have to 'temper' them first! 

This already smells amazing! Instant mood-lifter!  

Captain! We've been breached! All's fair in love and cooking, it tasted just as good so who cares? :) 

Soul saver! I loved this dish, came from the heart you know? So maybe it didn't take the blues totally away, but it sure helped ease the pain. Enjoying the extra cider while eating it also didn't hurt ;)