Chipotle Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie
If I were to try to come up with a list of quintessential Fall flavors, I think “spice” would be on the top of the list. Even more important than pumpkin, you say? Well… Yeah. Let’s be honest, pumpkin without spice is kinda like halloween without candy. You can try to fool yourself, but it’s just not as delicious.
Pumpkin spice is also EVERYwhere. And you have to branch out sometime, right? How timely that this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge, “Spooky Spices,” challenged us to do something new with spice. I have never made a Shepherd’s Pie either, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re not exactly the first thing you think of when you hear the word “spices.” But I don’t like going with the norm, so here we are.
I first got the idea while sitting in the airport this weekend waiting for a delayed flight. I was watching “Cutthroat Kitchen” on Netflix (which, by the way, is the best show EVER) and the contestants had to make Shepherd’s Pie amidst a whole slew of sabotages. One guy got his potato privileges revoked and used egg whites to make a meringue topping (ew), and another guy was forced to replace all his protein with beef jerky (EW). This got me thinking, though – what would I have made? It’s fall, and there are so many beautiful varieties of squash available. And so, it was decided – butternut squash Shepherd’s Pie.
For the filling, I used a spice that’s kind of “spooky” for me – Chipotle. I have used dried chipotle powder before (like in this empanada recipe) but I’ve never gone hardcore and used the actual pepper. So, I bought a can of chipotles. Hooooly moly. So spicy. So smoky. Sooooo delicious. I also used another “spooky” ingredient, but it wasn’t a spice – butter. I. KNOW. I don’t think ONE recipe on this blog so far has included butter. But, slowly and surely, I’m starting to appreciate “real” foods that are also for once-in-a-while use, like butter and full-fat dairy products. As long as we don’t go into full Paula Deen mode, butter and I will probably keep our relationship in a healthy place.
This dish came out so unbelievably flavorful and delicious. It’s not your typical Shepherd’s Pie… Dare I say it may be better? The chipotle makes the filling stand-over-the-skillet-and-nosh good, and the squash makes for a deliciously smooth, sweet, and fluffy topping. Can you say go-to meal until further notice? It’s THAT good.
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
- 2 tbs. melted butter
- 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans
- 3/4 cup sweet corn kernels
- 1 canned chipotle pepper, minced + 3 tsp. sauce from the can
- 2 tbs. tomato paste
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Bring potatoes and squash to boil in a pot of water.
- While boiling, heat olive oil and garlic in a deep skillet over low heat.
- Add ground turkey, raising heat to medium. Break up meat and stir until browned.
- Add onion, stirring occasionally until onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add beans and corn.
- Stir in minced chipotle, chipotle sauce, tomato paste, and broth. Make sure the liquid combines evenly.
- Once broth has mostly cooked off, add paprika and cumin, and stir to combine. Lower heat, and let sit for a few minutes.
- Once squash and potatoes are cooked through, drain thoroughly. Mash until smooth with a fork, and then add the butter and cheese and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the mixture has somewhat cooled, add egg and combine well.
- Pour meat mixture into a casserole dish and distribute the squash topping evenly over the top. Be sure to lock in the meat mixture, so none of the juice will bubble up to the top (learned this the hard way)!
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until topping begins to brown.