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Monday, January 3, 2011

Laura's Shepard's Pie

I met my dear friend Laura when we worked together in Fitchburg, MA. It was a crazy job that could be crazy with stress but we worked with a great crew who knew how to blow off steam. One way of doing that was to have the occasional pot luck lunch. Laura would sometimes make her version of shepard's pie, which is a slight variation on the original with an awesome Latin flair. Laura was born in Uruguay, but I'm not sure if this is the "Uruguayan" way of making it, or if it's just what Laura does. Regardless, it's some good stuff.

Laura's Shepard's Pie

4-6 servings instant mashed potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
2 carrots, diced
2 tbsp sofrito
1 tbsp Adobo con pimienta
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup green olives with pimentos, chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) cream style corn

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare potatoes as directed. Add salt, pepper, sour cream and 3/4 of the cheese. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook turkey with a little olive oil (about a tbsp) over medium heat. Season with the adobo, tomato paste and sofrito while cooking. Once cooked through, set aside. Discard all but about 2 tbsp of the drippings; add carrots and onions. Add meat back to the pan and stir together, along with the green olives.

2. Spread meat mixture in a 13 x 9 x 2" dish. Top with chopped egg. Pour can of cream style corn on top of meat and eggs. Add dollops of potatoes on top of the eggs then carefully spread to cover the casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in oven for 15 minutes, then broil to brown the top for 3-4 minutes.

The Verdict: This is a fun spin on a traditional favorite. I especially love the olives.

I found that my meat was not as spicy as Laura's. I remember Laura's having more of a taco meat kind of taste. In that case, you might want to add a few teaspoons of cumin and chili powder to your meat while it's cooking. It might just be that my adobo is helplessly old. Have fun playing around to take the flavor where you want it to go.

You can add the eggs if you desire. I think that they're great for they "hey, look at that!" factor but not so much for the taste. There's lots going on in this dish and eggs are rather mild. The taste gets a bit lost. You can also mix the eggs into the meat rather than use them as an additional layer. But Laura uses them and they make me think of Laura, so the eggs stay in mine.

Thanks for sharing this recipe with me, Laura! It's wonderful, just like you!


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