You may know this dish as pancit. Depends on what kind of restaurant you visit or where you’re from. It’s difficult memorizing the names of all the foreign dishes you like unless you eat out a lot…or you cook them yourself. I honestly didn’t even know the name of this dish until I was an adult trying to duplicate something my mom had cooked on occasion while I was growing up. I had to ask her, describing it as best I could not knowing the name of mushrooms she used but only how they crunched in my mouth; the noodles by how she prepped them before cooking.
Traditionally made with lamb meat and a mashed potato crust, I will be using ground turkey for Shepherd’s Pie. Since it’s called Cottage Pie if you use beef, maybe we should rename it to whatever protects the turkeys. Pen Pie. Not so appetizing. Remember the story that ends with a blackbird pie? Can we find something that hints at the ingredients? Free-range pie? Ha ha. Playing with collective nouns, Rafter Pie. I like it. Enough of that, let’s get to the food!
Here again, we start with the culinary trinity. Carrots, celery, and I’ve replaced onions with shallots. Add potatoes which would be the “crust” if you cooked this in an oven.
I’ve added the ingredients I would use to make a cream of mushroom soup. Butter, mushrooms, dried thyme, flour, garlic, salt and pepper, chicken bouillon, and water.
Add the rest of the ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie; green beans and ground turkey.
In the pot:
1 pound ground turkey, browned in skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic powder (½–1 teaspoon each, depending on your taste)
1 shallot, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 red potatoes, chopped
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
10 oz frozen green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken bouillon (1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon, plus one cup water used here)
4 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, about ½ teaspoon each used for the veggie layer as well as the meat layer
Stir together. Cook on High for 4 hours. Top with crumbled, crispy, butter crackers or pretzel crackers.
If you prefer a more traditional beef stew over the previously posted meatball stew, then this is one way to do it.
The fresher your food, the better!
While chopping these potatoes, I was trying to remember how many times in my life I’ve cut myself while cooking. I could probably count on my fingers; but then again, I’m careful (I would never complete a meal on the Iron Chef)!
The beast. This may be the single food that can instantly give me a migraine, and I’ve never liked taste. In addition to wetting the knife and rinsing the onion after peeling off the paper, I actually held my breath. Wetting the knife is sufficient enough for me to chop shallots to avoid the always uncomfortable fumes of the onion causing my eyes to burn and water, but this beast requires extra measures. Also since I can’t palate the raw, bitter flavor or unique crunch of onions between my teeth, I find that chopping it into quarters and removing the centers makes it very easy to not only find in the pot, but remove and discard from the recipe before serving. Why use it at all? Good question. There are few recipes, in my opinion, that require onion to maintain the integrity of the dish. Keeping to traditional cuisine, the Holy Trinity of French cooking or mirepoix requires carrots, celery, and onion. It’s always a good start when trying a new recipe or attempting to hack an old one, as I did here.
Salt and pepper the meat. Coat it with flour. Add the water and bouillon cube.
1 1/4 pounds stew meat
2 pounds red potatoes, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
6 stalks of celery, chopped
One yellow onion, chopped into quarters, center removed
One cup water
One low-sodium beef bouillon cube
6 ½ oz tomato purée (I made enchilada sauce at the same time and needed tomato sauce but only had a can of chopped tomatoes which I blended to make purée, so 8 ounces went into the enchilada sauce and the rest into the beef stew an hour before it was done)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
On teaspoon of dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
The onions should go where you can find them easily if you intend to remove them at the end like I do. Make sure to avoid breaking them up when you stir the pot halfway through (if you’re home); otherwise, I would make sure to put the carrots on the bottom of the pot (or whatever veggie you want to make sure becomes tender by the time it’s done). Chopping the potatoes and carrots into smaller pieces will also ensure everything cooks evenly.
Salt and pepper the veggies.
Add garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano. Wait until an hour before it’s done to add the tomato puree. Definitely stir it then.
Everyone in the covered Crock-Pot on Low for 5 ½ hours. Great with rice or sourdough (maybe a sourdough bread bowl?). Yum!
So simple, so delicious! Another one. Yes, I could potentially eat this everyday. The optional sour cream and cilantro gives a fresh, zingy creaminess to the meaty spice of the completed casserole. Does that make sense? You have to try it! It will be a potluck request!
In my experience, frozen chicken breasts cook perfectly on High in the Crock-Pot in four hours. I have had to remove them to shred and clean out the pot. This Dubliner cheese from Costco was in the fridge, so it went into this recipe. It’s a very nice, mild cheddar mix and it’s also very versatile. It’s worked well in Mexican dishes and Italian dishes. The carrots, shallots, and celery cooked in the pot with the chicken, and I ended up having to rinse them to get the chicken protein goo off of them. Luckily now, I have the second pot to cook the chicken separately making that a much easier task. I was trying to finish this recipe in four hours and without the Mexican beer…I had to improvise a bit.
Here’s what I did:
3 large frozen chicken breasts, lightly salt and peppered
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
Cook in Crock-Pot on High for 4 hours. Remove chicken when done, shred with fork and tongs. Removing ceramic pot from base, dump into a colander what’s still in the pot. Using a rubber spatula, scrape anything else out of pot. Return pot to base. Rinse contents of colander with kitchen hose removing chicken goo.
3 cups cheese, shredded (with a grater while chicken was cooking)
1 can (19 ounces) enchilada sauce (recipe below)
7 ounces tortilla chips
1 shallot, chopped
Optional: sour cream, fresh cilantro (both of which I highly recommend!)
Layer ½ cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pot, one third of tortilla chips, 1/3 of the shredded chicken and veggie mix, and one cup of cheese. Repeat. Squeeze lime (cut in half) to juice over top, discard peel and seeds. Cook on Low until cheese is melted, up to 4 hours or High for 2 hours.
You could theoretically cook the chicken with salt and pepper in one pot on High for 4 hours and everything else in a second pot on Low for 4 hours. When they’re both done, clean up and shred the chicken, plate it, and top it with the yum from the other pot. It will be hot and fresh. The leftovers may be better in that the meat will have had time to sit in the sauce, but it won’t have that same fresh-cooked taste. Either way, it’s utterly delectable!
I made enchilada sauce instead of buying it in a can and used chili powder that I could find, olive oil that I already had, the Bullet to blend it all, and the following recipe as a guide. It keeps very well in the fridge. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/61727/ten-minute-enchilada-sauce/
Cerveza Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Recipes (binder), p. 65. Publications International, Ltd. Lincolnwood, 2013.