New Shepherd’s Pie
I wanted to share my recipe for “New” Shepherd’s Pie! Instead of beef, its made with chicken thighs (for maximum moisture), slowly cooked in BBQ sauce & shredded, with a traditional mashed potato topping. It was so delicious!
Soooooo, why would I make a pulled chicken shepherd’s pie? Well, beef is out. Heard the news lately? Apparently everything we’ve been eating is disastrously unhealthy for us or so it seems.
Red Meat Drama
The other night I had made this beautiful…I mean beautiful Shepherd’s Pie , with minced beef , you know, the usual way. I had made it ahead for a quick work-week meal. So on the day I was to serve my glorious pie, as luck would have it, the news broke about red meat being the end of humanity. So as you can imagine, we sat there, watching the news while eating our meal, incapable of fully enjoying it, feeling that we were killing ourselves with every bite… Sounds dramatic but you have to put yourself in my shoes at the time. That day, it was chaos! Social media exploded with “facts” and figures about the effects of eating certain types of meat. What?!? No prosciutto? Bye Bye Big Mac? NO… BACON???? OMG! Smoked meat!?
T’was a sad, sad day for all meat lovers. I envisioned cows everywhere breathing a sigh of relief; no more lineups at Mc Donald’s, Schwartz’s windows bordered up… tumble weed…What will Willensky’s do when they can’t sell their famous bologna sandwiches anymore? Nah, turns out people don’t give a crap. “Don’t these people watch the news!!?” I exclaimed.
Now that the dust has settled, it turns out you can still eat red meat once and a while. Preferably organic and unprocessed, un-barbequed, un-cured, un-hot-dogged…you get the point… Just set the cow down right here please. Thank you.
My mom always told me that real traditional shepherd’s pie was made with left-overs, often with shredded meat so I guess this is sort of new but old shepherd’s pie then 😉
Note: You can add a layer of corn like a regular Shepherd’s Pie; the favours of the slowly-cooked bbq chicken would certainly go very well with it.
Now on to the recipe!
New Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash Topping
Slowly Cooked BBQ Shredded Chicken
3 to 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, or a mix of thighs and breasts (Trimmed of fat)
1 large onion, diced
2 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) barbecue sauce plus more for serving ( I like Stubbs Original )
Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat it dry. (Trim excess fat)
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until quite soft. Add the smoked paprika and stir. Add the chicken one piece at a time, stirring to mix well with the onion. Stir in the salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Pour in the barbecue sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer very briefly.
Turn off the heat and pour it all into a slow cooker.
Cook for 5 to 7 hours on LOW.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Use two forks to shred the chicken finely.
Pour the remaining sauce from the slow-cooker into a small saucepan, and simmer ,uncovered, over med-high heat. Reduce to about half of its volume. Use this thickened sauce to drizzle over your pie and add a little bit to your shredded chicken as shown below.
At this stage you can refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Saute onion then add smoked paprika
Add chicken thighs
Add bbq sauce and simmer
Pour all into your slow cooker
Shredded Chicken with added sauce
Mashed Potato Topping
4 Medium sized russet potatoes
2 tbsp of butter (or to your liking)
1/2 cup warm milk (or to your liking)
Shredded Tex Mex Cheese (optional)
Cut potatoes into chunks. Boil in generously salted water until fork-tender.
Drain well and add butter. Add milk a little at a time and mash until desired consistency is achieved. Set aside.
With a slotted spoon, place chicken into a 8×8 greased baking dish.
Spoon mashed potatoes over it.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and topping has slightly crisp.
Alternative Topping (Low carb)
Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”
1 large head of cauliflower cut into flowerets
1 tbsp butter
1 clove of very finely minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
Boil flowerets in about 2 inches of water with the lid on to boil/steam them – for about 6 minutes or until they break apart easily with a fork. Careful not to overcook as they will retain more water.
Drain well and return to the same pot, add garlic and let them sit steaming in the pot for about 2 minutes. Add butter, some salt and pepper. Blend with an immersion blender.
Spoon onto chicken & bake as directed above!
New Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower & Cheese Topping Coulda’ done without the cheese though.