Today is St. Patrick's day and though I didn't really plan this, I'm sharing a shepherd's pie recipe.I made shepherd's pie for dinner one night this week because the purple potatoes I had bought from the Asian market had started to grow roots. I know, I know. I completely forgot them at the bottom of the pantry. So staring at them, I thought... what could I make with these, that's quick and I could share on the blog, cause you know purple potatoes are fancy and interesting.
Then, I remembered that I had promised a subscriber that I would do my take on shepherd's pie and well, this is how this whole chicken shepherd's pie came about. I made the filling similar to how chicken pot pie is made, so you will see some similarities there. For anyone who is thinking how is this Guyanese? It's not, but being a former British colony we do have a lot of English and some Irish influence. Okay, enough rambling on with the recipe.
Disclaimer: This is a chicken shepherd's pie with loads of veggies, purple potatoes and taro root. It's the snob of shepherd's pie, if you think about it. I posted this disclaimer because when I told my hubby that I was making shepherd's pie for dinner he must have envisioned the traditional shepherd's pie with lamb or minced beef and potatoes. He did admit that this was way better (he'd better), but had a brief look of disappointment when I cut him his first slice of the pie and the chicken and vegetables tumbled onto his plate. For my vegetarian followers you can easily make this vegetarian, by leaving out the chicken and swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock. You could also had soy chunks or fried tofu to the sauce.
Let's start by prepping the chicken...
While the chicken is marinating we'll get the potatoes on the stove...
Now that we've taken care of that, let's start making the "filling..."
And now for the creamed potatoes...
Bring the dish together...
Chicken Shepherd's pie
2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)
1 lb purple potatoes
1 lb taro root
1 lb white potatoes
1 large onion (diced)
1 green bell pepper (diced)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (defrosted)
½ cup sweet white wine
2 cups chicken broth
⅓ cup flour
⅓ cup butter or butter substitute
¼ cup milk
¼ cup mixed Italian cheeses (I'm using the Kraft brand made with 2% milk)
¼ cup butter or butter substitute
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (for seasoning the chicken)
About 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (used as a garnish for baking)
2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne powder
2 tablespoon oil for sauteing chicken
1 tablespoon oil or cooking spray for greasing baking dish
Season the chicken and put the potatoes to boil:
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks and season with salt, cayenne pepper,oregano, garlic and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Let marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Peel potatoes (purple, white and taro roots) and cut into small chunks for quick boiling. Add potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on medium to high heat. Let boil until all the potatoes are tender and can be easily crushed with a fork.
Making the sauce for the chicken and vegetables:
While potatoes are boiling saute seasoned chicken breast in a sauce/saute pan on high heat, using about 2 tablespoon oil. When chicken becomes slightly brown but is not fully cooked, remove from heat and set aside. In the same sauce/saute pan used to cook the chicken add ⅓ cup butter. When butter melts, cook onions and and bell peppers until onions are soft. Then, slowly stir in flour. Let flour cook for 2 to 3 minutes then add ½ cup wine and 2 cups chicken stock. Cook until sauce becomes thick, but not too thick. Add mixed vegetables, followed by the sauteed chicken to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bringing it together:
Preheat Oven to 350 F.
Once the potatoes are all soft, remove from heat and drain, reserving some of the excess water for mashing. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl and crush using a fork or a potato masher. Add cheese, milk, ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup of the reserved water to the potatoes and mix until potatoes are smooth and creamy.
Grease a deep baking dish (large to medium size).
Add chicken and vegetables to the dish, then top with the creamed potatoes. Use a fork to press down the potatoes so that they are tightly packed. Sprinkle top with smoked paprika and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from over with top is golden brown.
Tips and Ramblings:
1. Although it was easy to make this dish, it took me forever to put together this recipe. Must be the wine I'm drinking.
2. You could substitute chicken breast for boneless chicken thighs if you are a dark meat type of person.
3. I defrost my frozen vegetables by running them under some hot water.
4. I always cook with butter substitute, when ever you see butter listed. I use smart balance with flax.
5. Purple potatoes and taro root taste a lot like eddoes for my friends in Guyana, so I would just use eddoes instead of any of the potatoes I've used. Wish I had eddoes.
6. You don't want to over cook the chicken breast before baking or it will become dry and taste like cardboard.
7. My pie wouldn't get the golden color I wanted so after it cooked for 30 minutes. I put it in the broiler for 3 minutes and viola, it was nice and brown.