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Alternative to the traditional shepherd’s pie recipe

Posted Dec 18 2009 9:20am

***Try a fish pie recipe instead of the shepherd’s pie recipe to change things up and add all the Omega-3 goodness found in fish like smoke trout!***

I used to eat the traditional North American shepherd’s pie recipe until my ex-Parisian-husband showed me how the French make their own shepherd’s pie (which they call hachi parmentier).

Their recipe doesn’t contain frozen corn. In fact, I remember him being completely freaked out at the idea that anyone would actually add frozen corn to the hachi! When I told him that the North American shepherd’s pie can only be truly appreciated with a side serving of (hum) ketchup, he just about passed out. He looked at me with his jaw dropped and eyes wide open and declared it was a disgrace!

As you can imagine the French shepherd’s pie recipe should NEVER be eaten with Ketchup and it doesn’t contain corn.

I think that we like a good shepherd’s pie recipe so much because it’s so comforting (can you say mashed potatoes!). If we look at the dish from a “healthy eating” perspective, then you’ll quickly see that the shepherd’s pie is in fact healthy under these conditions:

1) You should make your own shepherd’s pie recipe (so you know what’s in it).

2) If you are going to buy your shepherd’s pie, I’d recommend Whole Foods Market as a good source because at least know the ingredients are of good quality.

3) If you find it’s too laborious to prepare your shepherd’s pie, why not make a lot of it and store it in smaller dishes that you freeze for another meal?

4) If you are going to make the shepherd’s pie, when making your mashed potatoes you might use cream and skip the butter or use milk and then add butter for the richness. When I make my own mashed potato recipe with cream, I skip the butter … as I just don’t find it necessary and I don’t miss it in the taste.

5) Don’t eat half of the pie in one sitting.

6) If you are going to eat your shepherd’s pie with ketchup, make sure you don’t eat ¼ cup of ketchup in one meal.

Shepherd’s pie in a small quantity accompanied by a small salad is delicious and nutritious because you get your carbs (from the potatoes … which is why you do not want to have huge portions) and your protein from the lean ground meat. By adding a tasty salad for your greens and antioxidants, you have a complete meal!

I found a twist on the shepherd’s pie recipe and I thought it was brilliant, tasty and healthy. It’s also a great idea for the holidays if you are looking for something a little bit more festive than the traditional shepherd’s pie recipe, but that’s easy to make.

If you don’t eat enough fish in one week or in one month, this fish pie can be a great alternative to meat or chicken dishes.

This Akiwenzies’ Smoked Fish Pie recipe is from The Stop Community Food Centre’s “Good Food for All: Seasonal Recipes from a Community Garden book.”

For this recipe you’ll need to find smoked fish. You can obviously choose the smoked fish of your choice, but I think that a dish like this really stands out with smoked trout of smoked salmon (you also get a nice dosage of Omega-3).

Akiwenzies’ Smoked Fish Pie recipe

>>>Ingredients for the mashed potato topping<<<

0.91 Kg (2 pounds) of Yukon gold potatoes (aka yellow potato)

1 stick of unsalted butter (that’s about ½ cup)

½ tsp Kosher salt (you’ll also need some to finish the recipe so you’ll want to get a bit more)

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

>>>Ingredients for the smoked fish base and béchamel sauce recipe<<<

0.91 Kg (2 pounds) smoked fish, skin removed, flaked into clunks

4 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and cut into chunks

2 Tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

¼ (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups of milk

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (dried nutmeg will do if you do usually have a fresh nutmeg on hand)

½ tsp kosher salt (you might add a bit of salt at the dinner table if you find there isn’t enough salt)

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese (you could also try aged white cheddar if Gruyere cheese is hard to find)

>>>Preparation steps for the mashed potato topping<<<

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and water to cover.

2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes – use a fork to poke the potatoes to see if they indeed feel tender)

3.  Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle.

4. Using a paring knife, peel potatoes.

5. Return potatoes to the saucepan (off the heat) and use a potato masher to mash them until smooth, adding the ½ cup of butter in bits as you mash.

6. Stir in salt and pepper.

7. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

8. Set the mash potatoes aside.

>>>Preparation steps for the smoked fish base and béchamel sauce recipe<<<

1. In a 9-by-13 inch baking pan or casserole dish, spread fish and eggs in a single layer.

2. Sprinkle parsley on top.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.

4. Stir in flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.

5. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly.

6. Simmer until moisture starts to thicken and comes almost to a boil.

7. Remove sauce from heat and stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

8. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

9. Pour the sauce evenly over the fish and eggs.

10. Arrange mashed potato topping evenly over the fish, eggs and sauce.

11. Score with a fork to create a pattern.

12. Sprinkle evenly with grated cheese.

13. Bake in a 175 Celsius (350º degree F) oven until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

14. Serve immediately!

Photo by 46137

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