Squash & Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

I’m back. Gosh, once again it’s been an unforgivably long time since I’ve posted. But I’ve good reason: I moved!

On my own once again…YES! Though I enjoyed being at my parents’ house, I was more than ready to be back in my own place. And it happened before my 25th birthday, so I kept that promise to myself.

My new apartment has a gas stove. I’ve never had a gas stove before. I use it warily, every time expecting it to blow up in my face for no particular reason.

Seriously, the pilot lights freak me out. I’ve been here about two weeks. Used the oven for the first time the other day.

The oven is 75 degrees away from being preheated to 350*F and the smoke alarm goes off.

Really? I guess I’ll have to disable that when I use the oven, which sounds like an incredibly stupid thing to do.

Anyway, moving on. One of the last meals I cooked at my parents house was a variation on the classic dish shepherd’s pie, which is basically a casserole of mincemeat, onions and gravy with mashed potatoes layered on top and baked until golden brown.

What I made was a variation on a variation with ground turkey and mashed butternut squash. There were no leftovers.

photo(2)I may need to buy a bigger squash next time because I refuse to say it’s too much gravy because that’s blasphemous.

Squash & Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, serves 4 (adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe found here)


1 medium butter nut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into chunks

1 lb. ground turkey

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

1 pt. cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter (optional)

1 cup red wine, something you like to drink

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour


1. In pan, brown turkey. Since turkey is fairly lean I didn’t both to drain the fat (you’ll see why in a minute). If your turkey is particularly fatty, or if you want to substitute ground beef, you might want to drain some off. You want at least 2 tablespoons of meat juice/fat in the pan.

2. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft. Add flour and stir, cooking for about a minute until it is absorbed by the fat/meat and veg juice and becomes roux-ish. Add the red wine, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer until thick, about 20 minutes.

photoMay look mildly unappetizing, but this is a super good filling.

3. Steam the butternut squash until fork tender. Mash, adding salt and pepper to your liking.


4. In a medium to large casserole dish, put the meat and gravy mixture in the bottom and cover with the mashed squash. Dot the top with butter (optional) and bake in a 400*F preheated oven for 30 minutes. If the top doesn’t get as brown as you like, turn on the broiler and blast it for a couple of minutes. Conversely, you could skip the baking and serve the filling and mash as is and call it a “deconstructed” shepherd’s pie variation. Whatever floats your boat.

photo(3)It would probably be a better photo if I made individual shepherd’s pies. At least it’d be more twee & bloggy-like.

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