Karl’s Turkey Rancher’s Pie

Adapted from Rachael Ray and Cook’s Illustrated Recipes.

Jan wanted turkey and I was planning to make a turkey tagine this Sunday. Myr, however, has spent the week dodging missiles in Israel, so she was a bit off Middle Eastern food. I quickly switched to making a Turkey Shepherd’s  Pie.  This led to another hitch, it is Thanksgiving week and you can buy all of the whole turkeys you want, but a package of turkey thighs was not to be found. I finally settled on smoked turkey legs as the base of my pie.

Karl's Turkey Rancher's Pie

Karl’s Turkey Rancher’s Pie

Cook’s Illustrated had an article on shepherd’s pie recently and I used several of their techniques. But in searching for a turkey variation, Rachael Ray’s recipe was close to the idea that I had in my head. The following recipe is very little like its parents, but for me this is frequently the case.

This is a very strong flavored dish and will not be to everyone’s taste. The kids seemed to like it a lot, but Jan and I felt that the smoked turkey would have been better as a flavoring combined with fresh turkey meat (say ½ cup smoked to 1 ½ cup fresh). The smoked turkey’s texture and taste is reminiscent of corned beef or ham. The strong flavor of the meat also washed out the paprika, so I have increased this ingredient in the posted recipe.

Karl’s Turkey Rancher’s Pie


Potato Topping

3 large    Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ tsp.    Kosher salt
¼ cup    Milk
1 large    Egg, beaten
2 Tbs.     Butter, melted
4                Green onions, chopped fine
Salt & pepper, to taste


2 Tbs.     Dried mixed mushrooms
2 Tbs.     Olive oil
1                Onion, medium chopped
1                Carrots, shredded
2 ribs       Celery, chopped
1 cup        Cabbage, shredded
3 cloves  Garlic, chopped fine
2 Tbs.       Smoked paprika
½ tsp.      Thyme
½ tsp.      Black pepper, or to taste
2 cups       Smoked turkey, chopped
2 cups        Turkey gravy (Trader Joe’s, 500 g.)
½ cup       Peas, frozen
1 small       Red bell pepper, seeded and chopped


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.  Set the back on the burner for 1 minute to evaporate excess water.  Remove from the burner and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg into the milk.

3. Rice the potatoes into a medium bowl.

4. Add a couple of spoonfuls of potato and the melted butter to the milk mixture to temper it.  Fold mixture and the green onions into the potatoes. Cover and set aside.

5. Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl and add ¼ cup of boiling water.  Set aside.

6. Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the skillet. Sauté onions until just starting to pick up some color.

7.  Add the carrots, celery, cabbage and garlic. Continue sautéing until softened (about 5 minutes).

8. Drain the mushrooms fluid into a cup and chop the mushrooms fine.

9.  Add the mushrooms, paprika, thyme and pepper to taste into the pan. Pour some of the mushroom fluid into the pan and cook until most of the fluid has cooked away.

10. Stir in the turkey and gravy and bring to a simmer for a few minutes.

11. While stew is simmering, set the oven rack to 5 inches from the broiler element and preheat oven.

12. Stir in the peas and red peppers. Pour the stew into a large wide casserole.

13. Put the potato mixture into a seal-able gallon plastic bag. Cut a corner off of the plastic bag and pipe the potatoes over the stew.  Use a spatula to smooth out the potatoes to cover the stew completely.

14.  Using a large serving fork, drag the tines over the potatoes to make decorative groves.

15. Place casserole in the oven and broil until the potatoes are golden brown and crusty.

16. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Casseroles, Main Dishes, Poultry

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