Recipe for Shepherd's Pie, Featuring Butternut Squash
Every once in a while I play a game called "Shop my Pantry". In this game, I can only use what I have available on hand to cook with.
Sometimes this game is not challenging at all, but other times, it is darn almost impossible. Well, my friends, I am pleased to tell you that not only did I play "Shop my Pantry", well I crushed it with a winning recipe for shepherd's pie that I like to call Fall Sheperd's Pie.
After a full weekend of running errands, cleaning the house, and washing and folding about a hundred loads of laundry (maybe not a hundred loads, but it sure does feel like it with 6 kids plus Dan), I thought I was Superman.
That was until Monday when I realized that I didn't go to the grocery store to stock us up for the week. Unfortunately, I did not figure this out until I got home from work on Monday, and I needed to get something started for supper.
Well, this is when survival mode kicked in, and my super-heightened ninja senses engaged. I quickly surveyed all around me. I noticed on the counter a butternut squash.
This is the same squash that I bought several weeks prior with grand ideas. However, it sat on my counter as a fall decoration. Don't judge me. This immediately went into the oven to roast.
I had no clue what I would be using it for, but I knew that it would be included in that days bounty.
Next, I searched for some protein for this meal. The refrigerator yielded nothing, so I turned my attention to my freezer's tundra. I am not proud to say this, but I have lost many a nice cut of meat to freezer burn because I forget what I have on hand.
That is why a good game of "Shop my Pantry" is necessary from time to time. Thank goodness I was able to find some frozen boneless chicken tenderloins. They are perfect for quick meals because they defrost in the microwave and cook up even quicker.
Before I closed the freezer, I also noticed a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. Without missing a beat, I grabbed them as well. Somehow they would be incorporated into this meal.
What you need to make this:
- Some russet potatoes
- Chicken breast or tenderloin
- An onion or two
- Granny Smith apples
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Chicken stock
On a side note, we always have garlic on hand just in case we are ever under attack by a rogue gang of vampires, but I digress.
So there everything sat on my counter. As I looked at all that I assembled, the ingredients to this nameless meal stared back at me as to mock me.
I quickly turned away so it could not see my fear. It was at that time I spotted our seldom used ramekins. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning, Shepard pie. Or, in this case, a version called Fall Shepard Pie. The butternut squash would be used as my topping for the chicken and veggie filling that I would make.
As soon as I had my vision, the meal came together quickly and without really any effort. Once I presented my creation to the judges (my family), they all agreed that I was the winner of this week's "Shop my Pantry" challenge.
Even though I did not win a washer or dryer or an all-expenses paid vacation, I was a winner of a grateful family and that is worth more to me than anything. I hope that you make my Fall Shepard Pie for your family very soon. I know that you will love it. -Scott
Fall Shepherd's Pie
- 1 lb boneless chicken tenderloins cubed
- 1 small onion
- a medium sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1 medium russet potato peeled and diced
- 1 granny smith apple peeled and diced
- 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
- 3 TBS olive oil
- Poultry seasoning to taste
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 TBS butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds from center.
- Place in roasting pan with flesh side up.
- Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each center of each half.
- Drizzle maple syrup on each half and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt and pepper.
- Place in oven and cook until tender for approximately 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let cool and scoop cooked squash from flesh.
- Mash the squash so that it is smooth and creamy. Feel free to add a little more butter or salt and pepper to taste.
- Place to the side.
- Over medium heat in a pan add olive oil and add onion and cook until onions soften.
- Add chicken and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
- Add sweet potato, russet potato, and granny smith apple.
- Stir in wine and cook for a minute or two.
- Add chicken broth and cook until potatoes begin to soften.
- Add cream of mushroom soup and poultry seasoning.
- Stir to incorporate. You may need to add a little more chicken broth if mixture seems to thick.
- Add bag of frozen vegetables and continue to cook until vegetables thaw and warm.
- Spoon chicken mixture into ramekin and top with the mashed butternut squash.
- Place in oven and cook until squash browns, about 10 minutes or so.