With colder weather, it’s normal to crave heartier, heavier, richer foods. Thick soups and stews and creamy casseroles are perfect this time of year. Even though it’s still hot in Florida, I live vicariously through the cold-weather foods.
One of my very favorite winter foods is shepherd’s pie. It’s rich and delicious, being the casserole version of meat and potatoes. It’s also a dish that is frequently consumed in the Harry Potter series, which I love dearly and read every year at Christmas. This year I’ve got a beautiful new set that I’ve had my eye on for a few years, and I can’t wait to have enough time off work to start reading.
This particular shepherd’s pie has several qualities that are advantageous to a gastroparesis diet. The first is that it’s made with ground turkey instead of ground beef, which is leaner and easier to digest. The second is that it still tastes like it’s made with beef, which is a flavor I deeply miss; by using beef broth (of course), red wine, and mushrooms, the flavors in this shepherd’s pie have the depth and earthiness of beef. The third is that it’s freezer friendly—I’ll divide up a whole recipe into two or three smaller pans, and freeze two for later.
This pie is a good way to get those rich flavors in one easy-to-make comfort food package. While not for those on a liquid diet, this is a good stage 3 meal with soft, low-fiber vegetables, nothing inflammatory (the alcohol in the wine is cooked out), and some decent calories.
Sounds good, right?
Here’s how to make it (with freezing instructions noted):
- 1.5 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine (almost into a paste)
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped fine
- 1 cup spinach, chopped fine
- 2 tbl flour
- 1.5 cup beef broth
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2-3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Mashed potatoes
- (My version includes whipping 2 1/2 lb boiled-until-tender yukon gold potatoes with 1/4 butter,
- 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy substitute, 5 oz. cream cheese, and salt to taste).
- 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
- 4 tbl chives, chopped.
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. Brown turkey in a dutch oven on medium heat.
- 3. Once browned, add in onions, carrots, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender.
- 4. Stir in flour until coated.
- 5. Add in beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, sage, thyme, and garlic powder. Stir, scraping from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, or until you've reached the desired consistency and thickness.
- -Note: at this point, you can either transfer the mixture to smaller, individual containers like
- pyrex (particularly for freezing), or you can make one big shepherd's pie in your dutch oven. -
- 6. Top the mixture with mashed potatoes, then add cheese and chives on top.
- 7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes have formed a crust.
- 8. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
- These freeze incredibly well. To freeze, line the dish you'll eventually bake the shepherd's pie in with wax paper. Grease it. Add the turkey mixture, top with potatoes, cheese, and chives, and flash freeze until solid. At this point, remove it from the container and the wax paper, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap, and put in a freezer safe bag.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite winter casserole? Share your thoughts in the comments below!