Shepherd’s Pie Slims Down With Turkey

Amanda Tafel is passionate about music and education. Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., and the daughter of a music teacher, she followed in her mother’s footsteps, earning a bachelor’s degree in music education from Ithaca College. Upon graduation, she was awarded a full scholarship to study in Ireland and earned a master’s degree in Gregorian chant. She taught elementary music in New York, Maryland and Virginia before earning another master’s degree in music.

Amanda moved to Hawaii two years ago and is teaching music and education classes at UH West Oahu, conducting handbell and vocal choirs at United Church of Christ Judd Street, and teaching vocal music to elementary school students at Kaaawa Elementary School with Kalikolehua, under the artistic direction of Louise Keali’iloma King Lanzilotti.

This busy woman has performed classical and musical theater repertoire in several recitals and concerts in Hawaii. She also was chosen as one the finalists for Hawaii Stars in 2012.

This column is dedicated to Amanda for bringing her devotion to the people of Hawaii.

Shepherd’s Pie was originally an economical way to use leftovers from the Sunday roast, and the Scottish classic version is made with lamb (hence the name). In England and Ireland, the dish is served at just about every pub.

There are many recipes for Shepherd’s Pie. They range from using leftover roast leg of lamb with its pan gravy, and carrots, peas, or corn, which are topped with mashed potatoes and baked in an oven. Other methods use cooked diced roast beef, diced steak or ground lamb. All are topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

Here’s a lower-fat variation using ground turkey breast that is so tasty it pleases even the most-discriminating palates.


* 3 large, uncooked potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, boil and mash with 1/4 cup skim milk and 1 tablespoon Smart Balance light margarine, adding salt, to taste, set aside. Note: You may use instant dried potato flakes to make six servings.

* 2 cups frozen peas and carrots, just defrosted (do not fully cook) in microwave

* 1 pound ground turkey breast

* 2 teaspoons olive oil

* 1 cup Maui onion, chopped fine

* 3 cloves minced garlic

* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* salt, to taste

* 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

* 1 can vegetable broth, low salt, no msg

* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tablespoon broth until smooth

* paprika, for top

Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for about three minutes or until soft. Add turkey and saute until cooked through and lightly browned. Add pepper, salt and parsley, and mix to combine. Add broth and stir in, then add the flour mixture and cook until sauce starts to thicken. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish, spread vegetables evenly on top, and spread mashed potatoes over top, covering the vegetables completely. Make swirls on top with a fork and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake 35 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned.

Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 320
Fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 40 milligrams
Sodium: about 200 milligrams (depending on how much salt you add)