The Thanksgiving Day-After Meal: Shepherd’s Pie

By Elissa Dauria
Staff Writer
Published: November 19, 2009

A pressing issue for anyone who hosts Thanksgiving dinner? What to do with all of those leftovers. A few will be given out to guests; the stuffing goes to an aunt, the turkey to someone’s college-age cousin. And the rest will be thoughtlessly microwaved and eaten for a week until you find yourself thankful that the cranberry sauce is finally finished and you can go back to eating normal food again.

But there’s no need to eat boring leftovers. Shepherd’s pie is a traditional English dish that is made with ground beef or lamb and has a crust of browned mashed potatoes on top. In this version, the turkey and stuffing act as the ground-beef bottom layer, and whatever mashed root vegetable you happen to have leftover is the crust. This recipe can be used no matter what you have leftover and you can certainly add things like green beans if they’re lying around.

After a quick round in the oven, the pie can be sliced, drizzled with gravy, and topped with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. It works so perfectly that it seems a shame they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the United Kingdom.

(This is just the basic recipe; it really depends entirely on how much leftover food you’ve got. The idea is to have enough meat and stuffing to cover the bottom layer of whatever size baking dish you use, and enough mashed potatoes to cover about 2 inches thick on top).