Note: Today, I am posting a soft food shepherd’s pie and I mention in my discussion that I had made one earlier for Thanksgiving. I realized that I had never posted the recipe.
My brother-in-law is coming and he is having trouble chewing. I need to make something “thanksgiving-y.” Jan and I thought about a meat rich stuffing, but then I suggested my turkey rancher’s pie. Jan thought that would just fit the bill.
The last time I made this, there was no fresh turkey in the stores. I tried to make it with a smoked turkey thigh and bottled gravy. I personally thought the smoky flavor over powered all of the other flavors. It is not that this dish turned out bad, but I knew I could do better.
Today, I am using turkey necks and making my own gravy after stewing them. To make it easier on my brother-in-law I will be mincing the vegetables and, after striping the meat from the bones, chopping it finely. I also plan to adjust the other seasonings more to the holiday season.
Karl’s Turkey Rancher’s Pie II
3 turkey necks
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 Tbs. butter (or olive oil), separate uses
2 Tbs. dried mixed mushrooms
1 onion, chopped finely
1 carrots, shredded
2 ribs celery, chopped finely
1 leek, shredded finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 Tbs. poultry seasoning
½ tsp. black pepper, or to taste
½ cup peas, frozen
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
¼ cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup green onions, chopped fine
1. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot and brown the turkey necks well on all sides.
2. Add the chicken broth and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the turkey necks for at least one hour.
Tip: Two hours is better, you want the meat falling off the bones.
3. Remove the necks to a plate and break them up a bit, so that they cool more quickly.
4. Strain the broth and reserve.
5. Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl and add ¼ cup of boiling water. Set aside.
6. Strip the meat from the bones and mince it finely. Reserve the meat for later use.
Tip: You can mince it with a kitchen knife, but a food processor and meat grinder is much quicker. Do not process it into a paste, you want some texture remaining.
7. Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of butter to the skillet and sauté onions until just starting to pick up some color.
8. Add the carrots, celery, leek and garlic to the skillet. Continue sautéing until softened (about 5 minutes).
9. Drain the mushrooms fluid into a cup and chop the mushrooms finely.
10. Add the mushrooms, poultry seasoning and pepper to taste into the pan. Pour some of the mushroom fluid into the pan and cook until most of the fluid has boiled away.
11. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in mix it in thoroughly. Continue cooking for two minutes.
12. Stir in the turkey meat and reserved cooking broth. Bring the pot to ba boil, reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
13. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
14. Drain and Rice the potatoes into a medium bowl.
15. In a small bowl, beat the egg into the milk.
16. 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.
17. While stew is simmering, set the oven rack to 5 inches from the broiler element and preheat oven.
18. Stir the peas and red peppers into the stew.
19. Pour the stew into a large wide casserole.
20. 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.
21. Use a spatula to smooth out the potatoes to cover the stew completely and, using a large serving fork, drag the tines of the fork over the potatoes to make decorative groves.
22. Place casserole in the oven and broil until the potatoes are golden brown and crusty.
23. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.