Shepherd’s Pie – A Great Way To Use Leftover Turkey


We typically have more leftovers from Thanksgiving than we know what to do with. Turkey sandwiches made with breast meat are one of our favorites, but the leftover dark meat is always a dilemma. Last year we made Turkey Hash (recipe in the archives) with a fried egg on top and it was delicious. Other years we’ve make a Turkey Curry, but this year we were in the mood for something different. I found a classic recipe for Shepherd’s Pie in The Fannie Farmer cookbook and substituted the dark meat from our turkey for the lamb, added a dash of sherry to the gravy, included corn and green peas, topped the mixture with the traditional mashed potato crust, but added a sprinkling of good Gruyere cheese at the end. Note, if fresh rosemary is not available, substitute dried thyme. Dried rosemary, in my opinion, can taste like dried twigs. A classic Shepherd’s Pie calls for leftover lamb or beef, but we thought the turkey gave it a current twist on a classic. It is an earthy, comfort food type of dish and would be good with other vegetables, such as carrots.

Currently the Food Network is featuring quite a few recipes for Shepherd’s Pie on their website. They’ve switched up ingredients and have used some creative twists. For example, one uses cornbread for a topping; another contains sweet potatoes. They are taking this classic, to quote them, from “familiar to fabulous.”

Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat, preferably a combination of light & dark meat
Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (do not substitute dried rosemary) or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ to ½ cup beef broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of dry sherry
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 cup cooked small English peas
4 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed (about 3 cups)
½ cup freshly grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese


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