For my husband Ben, it was a bad "Shepherd's Pie" experience as a child that traumatized him. I've made it for him several times in the 21 years that we've been married and he just can't seem to get over his past Shepherd's Pie experience and appreciate a new (and delicious) version.
I had almost given up and resigned myself to the fact that we would never be a Shepherd's Pie eating family UNTIL, I saw a recipe for Chicken Shepherd's Pie in my latest edition of Cook's Country. If anyone can change Ben's attitude about this dish, it's Cook's. Here goes nothing...
Chicken Shepherd's Pie
2 pounds chicken thighs
salt and pepper
6 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups chicken broth
2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 T. butter in skillet and add chicken thighs. Cook until browned on both sides.
Transfer chicken to a platter.
Add onions and carrots to the skillet and cook 5 minutes.
Add garlic and thyme and cook 30 seconds.
Add sherry and cook until pan is almost dry.
Stir in broth.
Return chicken to skillet along with accumulated juices and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken reaches 175 degrees.
Remove chicken from skillet and allow to cool. Once cool, shred.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water.
Bring to a boil and continue to cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
Return potatoes to skillet and add 5 T. butter and salt to taste. Stir with a fork to combine.
Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.
Bring broth mixture to a boil and whisk in cornstarch mixture. Return to boil and cook 1 minute until thickened.
Remove from heat. Stir in peas, lemon juice and shredded chicken.
Spoon into casserole dish. (I divided mine between 2 dishes.)
Spoon potatoes over vegetables.
Beat egg and brush over potatoes.
Bake 15 minutes at 375. Turn on broiler and place under broiler for 5 minutes or until potatoes are browned.
Sooo...I kind of renamed my Shepherd's Pie - Chicken Pot Pie. I served it to Ben and guess what? - he liked it! That just proves that it's all about memories associated with the name - not necessarily the dish.
Who knows, maybe Cook's will come out with a broccoli frittatta recipe that will change my mind about frittatas completely. (I'm not holding my breath.)