Oh, the holidays. Days filled with nothing more strenuous than deciding what to eat and which pair of comfy pants to wear.
Because I am both lazy and a food snob, I require my holidays to be filled with varying and differing foods. Yes, we cooked an enormous turkey, but does that mean I have to eat turkey sandwiches for three straight lunches? Ugh.
Growing up, we usually made a fried rice with our leftover meats. Easter ham became crispy and delicious mixed with rice, egg, and green onion. Thanksgiving turkey seems to moisten and soften when sauteed with soy sauce.
This Thanksgiving, we made a leftover sheperd’s pie. It’s not a traditional shepherd’s pie, for it doesn’t have lamb, but it’s more of a concept dish.
A shepherd’s pie is usually a diced meat with veggies and a meat gravy, covered with mashed potatoes and some cheese, and baked.
The beauty of making a shepherd’s pie of your holiday leftovers is that you can adapt it to what you have on hand. The stuffing can be used to fortify the filling, sweet potatoes can substitute for russets, and if you’re really brave, the cranberry sauce would make a delightful topping on the potatoes. It’s all about using your leftovers in a different way.
This Thanksgiving, we had two turkeys, so we had A LOT of turkey left over. We also had dumplings with a really good gravy, so we used some dumplings, gravy, turkey gravy and turkey for the filling. We tossed in a few chopped carrots and celery for some veggies. All of this went into a casserole dish. Topped with mashed potatoes and a layer of cheddar cheese, this pie is ready for the oven!
What you really want from this dish is for everything to get really hot. Everything in this dish is cooked already (it’s leftovers, after all) so you mainly just want that cheese to melt and the filling to get hot. 40 minutes at 375 degrees should do it, with a couple minutes of broiling at the end to get the top crusty.
Voila! Holiday leftover shepherd’s pie! Recipe is below, but really, it’s mostly just a casserole, greased with gravy and topped with potatoes. Anyone can put this together, and it makes a nice change after seven straight meals of sandwiches.