Leftovers Shepherds Pie

So you have finally recovered from thursdays feast. Your belt has moved one full notch in the wrong direction and frankly, you couldn’t be happier. As the host for these festivities, I always run into the same damn problem: what to do with all those leftovers??
Well, this is a simple recipe to put everything together for a shepherds pie.
For this particular adventure, you will need:
Deliciously Brined Turkey
Squash
Clove or Demi Glazed Onions
Stuffing
Smashed Potatoes and Gravy

You will aslo need several deep dish pie pans. I use the disposable ones from the store, but really any pie pan will do.
First, set up your ingredients like an assembly line.
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First, put the deboned turkey in the base of the pan.

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Next, add a good some gravy.

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Evenly distribute the onions.

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Next, add in your squash. You really want to have a bite of everything in every bite.

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Break your stuffing up into chunks and layer on top of squash.

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And finally, the potatoes. You may need to add some milk to your potatoes and re-mash them so that they are a little creamier and easier to spread on top.

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Repeat with remaining leftovers. Cover with tinfoil and stack in the freezer. When you are ready for turkey dinner again, just pull one out of the freezer and place in a 350 degree oven until potatoes are golden brown. Dig in and enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner all over again!

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Squash: My Mother’s Favorite Side Dish

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When I was a kid, I HATED squash. Hated the smell, the texture, the taste. The whole experience from beginning to end was nightmare of buttery bland squishiness and yet, my family loved it. I always felt a little left out when my family would ooo and aaah over the savory orange pile on their plates that they couldn’t wait to dive into. Meanwhile, I would be sitting there, holding the fork as far away from me as I could, poking at it like i expected it to spring to life and smother me to death with it’s oozy creaminess.

That was then.

As we grow older, our tastes definitely become more and more sophisticated. The more our palettes experience, the more we find we like, dislike, tolerate or outright loathe. Squash grew on me. It took a long time and it took alot of patience and experimentation on my part.

You name it, I have probably tried it: spaghetti squash, hubbard, acorn and, of course, the dreaded staple of the Thanksgiving Feast: butternut squash. I have experimented with many methods for preparing squash, but today, I want to share my ultimate butternut squash for thanksgiving. After years of experimenting, this concoction is the one that made me a true fan of something I once considered so vile.

ULTIMATE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

You will need:

1 whole butternut squash

2 small baking apples

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup of water

teaspoon vanilla

fresh ground nutmeg

allspice

fresh ground cinnamon

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 cup cream

pinch kosher salt

pinch of pepper

half lemon, juiced

dried cranberries (optional)

almond slivers for garnish

Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Place it skin side down onto a cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree over for 40 minutes or until it is fork tender. Then turn off the oven and turn on the broiler. Place squash halves under broiler for about 5 to 10 minutes. Careful! Don’t let it burn, you only want to bring out more of the sugars in the meat by lightly browning the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove the skin from the squash and place the meat in a large mixing bowl. Break down squash with a hand masher or fork. Combine 1/2 stick of butter, pinch of kosher salt (to taste), pinch of pepper (to taste), 1/4 cup of cream and fresh ground nutmeg with squash and mix thoroughly and set aside.

Peel and core the two apples. Roughly chop them into chunks and place in a shallow bowl. Combine with the lemon juice and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, sugar and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add apples, ground cinnamon, vanilla and allspice. Simmer on low heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the apple mixture to the squash and combine roughly. You don’t want this to be a smooth mixture, you want it rough and chunky. (Note: you can combine dried cranberries to this at the end if you like) Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with some almond slivers and a little parsley and enjoy.

This single dish, from years of playing around with different  squash recipes, has made me a fan for life. The nutty roasted flavors of the squash right out of the oven combined with the sweet goodness of apples, spices and sugar come together to create a savory side dish that can stand alone as a star all by itself. This side makes a hearty and sweet addition to my Leftovers Shepherds Pie, but thats a post for another time.