Impromptu Shepard’s Pie

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After making pork and ‘taters for mom after her injury, Jay had to go out of town on a business trip. The night he was coming back, I wanted to make something nice but didn’t want to go through a huge effort. We still had lots of mashed potatoes left over, so after doing a quick inventory of what we had, I decided to make a shepard’s pie.

This isn’t really your traditional shepard’s pie, but it did have lots of the same elements. For one thing, the meat was chicken because that’s what I had on hand. I also used chicken stock because that’s what was around. I didn’t have any corn but used black beans instead. As far as the spices go, I just started grabbing what looked good and indiscriminately dumping stuff in. This turned out well and the pie as a whole had a nice deep, warm flavor. As for carrots, we always have baby carrots on hand so I just cut a couple of handfulls up, put them in a glass with some water and nuked them for about 3 minutes.

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The recipe is a little haphazard because I literally was just looking around the kitchen and putting stuff in, and I made it so long ago that I’ve forgotten the exact details. Needless to say, I think it’s hard to screw a thing like this up if you have the basic building blocks. It made a lot more than I anticipated (my pot almost spilled over), and we ended up having to throw some of it out eventually, but it was very good. I was worried that the depth of flavor might not be there with just the chicken, but the tomato paste and abundance of spices really helped out.

Unorthodox Shepard’s Pie
(adopted from Emeril Lagase)
Cook’s note: I really think that this works well with a combination of ingredients, just don’t stray too far. Corn traditionally goes in this rather than black beans, and beef or lamb usually takes the place of chicken, but if you are just trying to use up leftovers then this is a good way to go.

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At least Kaley thinks so 🙂

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 large onion 
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into cubes
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 chicken stock
dried thyme
fresh basil
dried rosemary
dried sage? (don’t remember if this found it’s way in or not)
1/2 bag frozen pees, cooked 
1 large mug (2 cups?) chopped baby carrots, cooked
1 can black beans, drained
1 recipe Mashed Potatoes (your leftovers!)
2 tablespoons butter, cubed

Method:
In a large saute pan (I would recommend at least a medium-sized pot), over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the chicken to the onions and saute for 1 minute. Dust the chicken with the flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in the spices (however much you want of each, I put in around a tablespoon), black beans, peas and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a deep 9-inch oval dish. Place spoonfuls of the potatoes over the meat mixture. Dot the top of the potatoes with butter (I left this part out but feel free to add it if you like!). Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are golden. Place a baking sheet under the dish in case the pie starts to bubble over. Remove from the oven and spoon onto serving plates.

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