This month’s Daring Cook’s Challenge is a Canadian dish called Pate Chinois, which is an oxymoron and only God knows how it got that name. Many cultures have a form of this potato pie. Basically it is a mixture of any variety of meat and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and baked. In Ireland, lamb is the most popular protein and it is called Shephard’s Pie. In England, it is Fish Pie, which I have already made on this blog here. In the Spanish Caribbean, it is called pastelone and instead of being topped with mashed potato, mashed plantain is used and cheese is also included. In fact, I even did a pumpkin variation of pastelone here.
Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 Hostess is Andy of Today’s the Day and Today’s the Day I Cook! Andy is sharing with us a traditional French Canadian classic the Paté Chinois, also known as Shepherd’s pie for many of us, and if one dish says comfort food.. this one is it!
Many people in recent years have stopped eating pork and red meat for health reasons and/or spiritual reasons. However, there is one thing that most of these converts will always tell you they miss the most (and still indulge in once in a while) and that is bacon. There is just something indescribable in that smoky meat that nothing else compares to. However, there are some substitutes that work pretty well and one of those is smoked turkey parts. I am not referring to the turkey bacon available in most supermarkets. That bears no resemblance in taste or texture to the original. Instead, buy smoked turkey necks, wings or sometimes drumsticks are usually available.
In my version of the Canadian classic, I used smoked turkey in combination with smoky spices like cumin, coriander and paprika to create a flavor in the meat very similar to lamb. Unless someone told you, you probably would not even realize this was turkey.
(click here for printable recipe)
1 1/2 lbs. smoked turkey necks (or any turkey parts)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 large parsnip (about 9 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2 moons
3 carrots (about 9 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2 moons
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and quartered
9 oz. celery root, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
4 teaspoons paprika, seperated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2/3 cup red wine (I used merlot)
3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Simmer smoked turkey until tender, about 1 hour. Remove meat from the bones and set aside. Save cooking liquid to use as broth for soup or other purposes.
Boil potatoes, parsnips, carrots and celery root, seperately, until tender.
Using an electric mixer, whip potatoes and celery root with the butter and buttermilk until you have a creamy and smooth mixture. (It is important that you do this immediately upon cooking the celery root. If you wait until the celery root cools, it will be difficult to mash/whip. Add horseradish, salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until softened. Add ground turkey and saute until meat is cooked through. Add smoked turkey, cumin, coriander and 2 teaspoons of the paprika and saute another 5 minutes.
Add tomato sauce and wine and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add green peas and cook until heated through. Add parsnips, carrots, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add parsley and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
In a large casserole dish, pour meat and vegetable mix into casserole. Spread potato-celery root mixture on top. Score the top with a fork. Top with remaining paprika and grated cheese.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty.
This came out so good with its smoky flavors. I hadn’t had any version of Shephard’s Pie in a really long time. This really is one of those perfect winter comfort foods. The only change I would make is next time do only 1 1/2 pounds potatoes and increase the celery root to 1 lb. because I really could not taste the flavor of the celery root.