Denny's been sick so I'm making comfort food these days. What he wants when he feels bad is creamed chicken and mashed potatoes. In our house, 'creamed' means a white sauce made with fat-free dairy. The flour thickens it enough without the fat and calories of cream.
But Denny was miserable and I wanted to make something special for him. So I did what any loving wife who lives half an hour from the grocery store would do. I rummaged in the fridge.
And came up with leftover poached turkey with broth plus a bowl of mashed potatoes. Voila! Major components of Skinny Shepherd's Pie. If you don't have the chicken lying around, buy a rotisserie chicken and low-sodium broth or poach some boneless chicken breasts in water with a bay leaf and thyme.
My recipe is adapted from the WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook. It tastes good, won't clog arteries and is easy once you find the cooked chicken, broth and mashed potatoes in your refrigerator.
The casserole comes out of the oven with a golden crust and a good-food smell that will pull your family to the table.
Skinny Shepherd's Pie
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp dried Bouquet Garni mix, or your favorite herbs
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups cubed cooked chicken/turkey breast
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups frozen cut vegetables (I used a mix of carrots, peas, lima beans, corn and green beans)
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, or fat-free half'n'half
1 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cups mashed potatoes
I like Yukon Gold potatoes for the richness. I make a lumpy mash with skins on, using low-fat milk or fat-free half'n'half to moisten and a small bit of light butter and shredded parmesan cheese mashed in after the milk. Good texture, not too many calories.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees; spray a 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray.
Put the frozen vegetables and minced onion in a bowl, microwave until vegetables are thawed and onion is softened, approximately 2 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. flour; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly gold. Whisk in the broth, salt, pepper, Bouquet Garni and thyme, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the remaining tablespoon of flour. Stir in the vegetables and onion, sauce, and milk. Transfer to the casserole.
Top with the potatoes, spreading to cover the filling completely; sprinkle with the cheese and paprika.
Bake until bubbling and the potatoes are golden, 30-35 minutes.
You can roast broccoli or brussels sprouts at the same time to round out the meal.
We drank herbal tea with dinner but I'd bet on a chardonnay as a good wine match.
Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.