I'm also an obsessive Thanksgiving eater -- it doesn't have to be the fourth Thursday in November for me either. Frequently in the middle of summer I will go to a local diner for their Thanksgiving platter. That's how much I love this meal. So, when it comes to the actual day that I'm going to prepare it at home for my whole family, I tend to go a little overboard and make two of everything: two brined turkeys, two dishes of mashed potatoes, two gravy boats....you get the drift. Without fail I always end up with enough left over to feed an army. The past few years I've made Potato Turkey Balls and Brazilian Turkey Casserole with the leftovers, which were both big hits with the troops, but this year I'm making Turkey Shepherd's Pie.
My Aunt made a mean Shepherd's Pie when I was a kid and my family always looked forward to it at our regular Sunday night dinners, so the idea of marrying Shepherd's Pie with Thanksgiving dinner seemed like a no-brainer to me. After cooking for days on end and needing (and truly deserving) a break, you have to try this delectable dish that perfectly puts to use all of your holiday leftovers!
*Roux is a cooking mixture of wheat flour and fat (traditionally butter). ** Cover and freeze after this step. Defrost and bake as directed in step 7.
Preheat oven to 400 F°.
Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions for 4 minutes or until translucent.
Add the celery, carrots and thyme and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter into the vegetables and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour over them. Stir to make a roux*. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables.
Add the milk, broth, chopped turkey and peas and simmer over low to medium heat for 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add salt to taste.
Divide the mixture among 4 10 oz ramekins or one 8 x 8 inch baking dish.* *
Evenly top each filled ramekin with mashed potatoes and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese on top to cover.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until warmed through and cheese has melted (25 minutes for an 8 x 8 inch dish). Serve.