Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect winter dish! Originating in Ireland, this dish traditionally contains a mix of ground beef, gravy, and mashed potatoes. I put a healthier spin on this hearty dish by using turkey meat instead of beef, rutabagas in place of the potatoes and of course adding extra veggies! With these changes you can’t go wrong because the port infused gravy and the plethora of veggies gives you all the desired tastes and richness. I used rutabagas instead of potatoes to try something different, and I feel that the rutabagas give a slight bitterness and a buttery richness at the same time, aside from the warm yellow color. I find that with the rutabagas you don’t need much butter or milk at all to get the desired taste and texture for the topping. And it gets better because you can buy turnip or rutabagas precut in chunks at the supermarket, which saves on prep time from peeling and cutting. This dish is now one of my go-to dinners for the winter because it is so wholesome, hearty, and substantial. Make a nice salad on the side with this meal and that’s all you need!


Serves 4-5


2.5 pounds Rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks (I used 2 precut containers from the grocery store)

1 T butter or butter substitute

1/2 cup of low fat milk

1 egg yolk

1-1.5 lb Ground turkey, 94% lean

1 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup white mushrooms (8 oz package), sliced

1 T tomato paste

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 C port wine or Madeira (can substitute red wine)

2 T whole wheat flour (can use white flour or rice flour for gluten free)

1 1/4 C low sodium beef broth

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

3/4 C fresh carrots, chopped (can use frozen)

3/4 C frozen peas, thawed

2 tsp  cornstarch

2 tsp water

salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a medium saucepan add rutabaga chunks and fill pot with cold water until chunks are covered. Heat on high until boiling, then simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until tender (can easily puncture chunks with a fork). While rutabaga is cooking, in small bowl whisk together egg yolk and milk. Once rutabaga is cooked, drain in strainer and return to pot (without turning on stove). Mash chunks with a potato masher and then add in butter, and whisked milk and egg yolk (if desire more creamy texture put mixture into food processor until well blended and smooth). Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.   fullsizerender-1 fullsizerender-2
  2. In the meantime open up package of turkey and sprinkle salt and pepper over meat and mix. Set aside.fullsizerender-7
  3. Add oil to a 10-inch broiler safe skillet and heat on high until hot. Add onion and mushroom and cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly until they start to soften. Add tomato paste and minced garlic and stir well until combined. Add in port or Madeira, stirring constantly. Once alcohol is evaporated add in flour and stir until combined. img_3223
  4. Add in broth, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaf, peas, and carrots and bring skillet to a boil.img_3224
  5. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium-low and add in turkey meat in 2 inch bits. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then use 2 forks to break up chunks of meat into smaller pieces. Stir well. Then cover and cook for remaining 3 minutes until turkey is fully cooked through and no longer pink.img_3225 img_3226
  6. In small bowl, whisk cornstarch and 2 tsp water. Add into skillet and stir well. Remove bay leaf and thyme (if used thyme sprigs). Finish filling with salt and pepper to taste.fullsizerender-8
  7. Heat broiler on high and adjust rack at 6 inches below top of broiler.
  8. Transfer mashed rutabaga into large zip lock bag. Cut out 1 inch opening in corner of bag. Pipette rutabaga over skillet mixture trying to create a complete layer over the meat mixture. Then use the back of a spoon to smooth out the layer.fullsizerender-6
  9. Place skillet on cookie sheet in case mixture drips over, and broil for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown and mixture bubbles.img_3230
  10. Cool for 10 minutes before serving so meat can absorb the juices.

**If you do not have a broiler safe skillet, you can use a casserole dish to broil (can be square or round). Once the meat filling is complete, transfer to casserole dish and then follow recipe from step 8.


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