Friday, September 30, 2011

Shepherd's Pie with Ground Turkey, Butternut Squash Topping and a Pinch of Narcissism

I saw them from across the crowded farm stand; their voluptuous shape and ghostly pale skin drew me right in.  Butternut squash, where have you been all these months, oh how I've missed you.  I lured them into my basket with the promise of being turned into something delectable; I didn't even have to offer them any candy.

At the risk of seeming like a "Class A Narcissist", I have to say, "The Shepherd's Pie I made with my butternut squash came out awesome"!  But who the hell am I kidding, I'm on the internet all the time saying I'm freaking awesome,  so I guess I'm gonna have to wear that title too.  My swollen head just isn't large enough for all these crowns.  I'll work on my little problem, I promise.

I wanted to thank Chef Dennis for Dorie Greenspan's book, "Around my French Table".  I made her Hachis Parmentier (please don't make me pronounce that, I hardly speak proper English as it is).  Hot Dog Dude loved it, but being the mean wife I am, I took it upon myself that he needed a healthier version, to save him from himself.

Butternut Squash Topping
1 medium sized butternut squash (2-3 pounds)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
White pepper

1)  Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

2)  Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Place two halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cut side up.

3)  Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until squash is tender when a knife is inserted.  Let cool.

4)  Scoop flesh out of the butternut squash and place in a food processor with butter, cream, salt and pepper.  Pulse the mixture until smooth.  Or you could do this by hand since the squash will be nice and soft.

Ground Turkey and Vegetable Filling
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced, use only the white (or about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped 1/2"
2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2"
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1)  In a large skillet add olive oil, leeks, carrots and celery and cook on medium low for 10 minutes until softened.

2)  Turn heat up a little and add ground turkey, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper and cook until turkey is browned.

3)  Add flour and chicken stock and cook for a couple of minutes until thickened.

4)  Place meat and vegetable mixture in a casserole dish and top with butternut squash topping.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

5)  Bake in 375 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes until top is nicely browned.

Come on over dinner is ready.

Some quick news updates:
YBR is going on right now over at Spicie Foodie, can't wait to go check out all the great dishes, I always find something new I missed.

Gerry at Foodness Gracious is having an online bake sale to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He needs some bakers and of course buyers.  My kids are out of school for the next two weeks, so I'm hoping to be doing things with them.  I will have to be a buyer, so bake me something good to bid on.



  1. Gina this looks beautiful! I grew up on shepherd's pie & still request it every time I go home! The butternut squash topping sounds great & a nice change from potatoes. Will have to give this a try this season :)

  2. I LOVE shepherd's pie and wonder if I can change up the butternut squash topping with something else other than potatoes? You even piped your topping, you're such a Queen, Gina, but it makes the pie look even better than normal.

    Great shout out for Gerry too, I'm sure he'll appreciate that a lot. I won't be baking either but I'm expecting a bid from you for my baking accessories!

  3. Mmmm, what a fancy swirly topping you put on there! I have to say that when I make shepherd's pie with anything other than the usual ground beef, mash potatoes (assorted veggies, of course) my family insists it's not shepherd's pie, lol! Glad you've been reunited with squash! Your recipe sounds delicious with the flavors of fall twist. I'll have to try it!

  4. That looks great! I love that it has ground turkey in it and also the butternut squash. That is one of my favorites

  5. Hey, I was reading your post with it's awesome pictures, and had to look twice at my link! That was a cool surprise and loads of thanks and happy stuff thrown your way. Yes be a buyer!
    Take care and many thanks..

  6. Love this recipe! Such a healthy way to make shepherd's pie, yum!! :)

  7. Is that seriously a picture from your farmers' market? Color me many shades of jealous.

    Butternut squash and I are just getting to know each other, but from what I've seen thus far, I do like the stuff. Your dish up there helps too.

    I won a copy of that book from Chef a while ago. It's absolutely amazing, isn't it.

  8. Hi Gina, First of all you are awesome! Second you are a queen, so here's another title for you The Queen of Awesome! You like? Lol:) This sounds awesome and I just might use my little Butternut squash for it. Thanks for the YBR mention. Hope you are doing well:)

  9. Wow! You are deserving of the crown and the title! Yes you are "the queen of awesome"! :)
    This is my kind of shepherd's pie! Can't wait to make it! You pictures are gorgeous - all of them!!!

  10. That does look like an awesome Shepherd's Pie, Gina! You're just telling it like it is! ;)

  11. Oooh, nice version of sheperds pie! And you go ahead and be your awesome self...we love you just the way you are!

  12. You know, with a dish like this, you have a right to be a little bit of a narcissist. It looks fantastic!

  13. Love love love the bright color of your shepherds pie , just screaming fall;-)
    Gorgeous shot from your farm stand, you lucky duck or should I say queen???
    Enjoy your new cook book, I think you're really going to like it;-)

  14. Love the idea of using butternut squash for the topping!! That just takes the taste off the charts. And, guess what, part of blogging is being proud of what you've done. We all love you just the way you are :-) Kate @ kateiscooking

  15. I adore butternut squash. All those squashes at the market would have me jumping up and down too.

    Strangely, I'm the only one in this house that will eat pumpkin / squash - so when I do, it tends to be almost every day for a week ! Saying that, I'd swap potato for butternut squash anyday.

  16. Gina - my hubby would absolutely LOVE this! It screams fall and he adores shepards pie - this is a must make. Hope you are doing well!!!

  17. wow Gina, the shepherds pie with that swirls looks stunning!

  18. I love this version of Shepherds Pie, especially with the butternut squash topping. Such a great idea! Thanks to the Queen. I have everything that I need to make this except fre the leek, so I can't wait to try this one.

  19. I love this version of Shepherds Pie, especially with the butternut squash topping. Such a great idea! Thanks to the Queen. I have everything that I need to make this except fre the leek, so I can't wait to try this one.

  20. Oh my glorious squashy goodness! That is one sexy shepard's pie! Your ego is TOTALLY deserved :)

  21. But you are awesome!!! I love butternut squash and I love fall...great recipe that I'm sure my family would enjoy :)