Terry is not a shepherd, nor does he make meat pies. He’s not even British (although they did invade his country back in the day). This recipe bears his name for a damn good reason, and that’s damn good mashed potatoes.

To the recipe (and beyond)!

In May of 2012, I went to Belize with a wonderfully fun cast of characters to this tiny little Rastafarian island called Caye Caulker. While we were there we met this really nice and engaging man named Terry selling grilled chicken on the side of the sandy main road that runs along the shore. His chicken was so fantastic that we asked him to cook up some fish for us that my husband and another friend caught while reef fishing.

Terry, pictured with his son, doing what he does best!

Terry, pictured with his son, doing what he does best!

Now, Terry is a guy with a relatively laid back life. He lives on the beach, has a wonderful little kid, and makes his way by feeding tourists the best. chicken. ever. and he was kind enough to cook our fish for us. Of course he would. Terry seems very much the kind of person that just loves cooking and loves seeing people share and enjoy his food. You probably think I have gotten off topic, but I’m getting there. He invites us to his abode and we drank, played some music, swatted mosquitoes and watched two stray dogs get (ahem) stuck together for what seemed like an eternity as Terry cooked in his stilted home. It was a fun night.

Finally, Terry brings out dinner and finishes grilling the fish. The fish was fantastic, as it was caught that morning and pretty difficult to screw up it was so fresh. But do you want to know what I remember most about that meal? His mashed potatoes. They were so creamy they seemed to defy the laws of thermodynamics. While I have not been able to replicate his mashed potatoes to a T, I have come pretty close. It pretty much involves a shit ton of butter and coconut milk. So what better to pair a coconutty mashed potato with then a warm, curried meat pie? So there you have it, that is the long story behind the namesake of my shepherd’s pie. I have brought together a little bit of England, India (with the curry) and Belize.

Terry’s Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3lb potatoes (yukon gold or russets, skin on, cubed)
  • 1/2-1 can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2lb ground venison
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup green beans (cut into bite sized lengths)
  • 1/2 cup broth (beef, vegetable or chicken, up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • a sprinkle of smoked paprika (for garnish)
  • snipped chives (for garnish)

Directions

Step 1
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and add about 1/2 cup coconut milk and keep mashing and adding milk until the potatoes are nice and creamy (I just throw the whole can in there - but if you want a stiffer mash to top your pie than keep it at 1/2-1 cup).
Step 2
Preheat the oven to 450. While the potatoes are boiling, heat a skillet on medium and add the oil. Once the oil and pan are warm add the onion, a little salt, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the ground venison, curry powder, Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste and brown the meat. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook until just starting to soften. Add the broth, scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, and let it bubble while you finish with the potatoes.
Step 3
Once both the meat filling and potatoes are finished, pour the meat and gravy mixture into a 13x9 baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and bake at 450 until the potatoes are evenly browned on top, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle the top with smoked paprika and freshly snipped chives before serving.
Non-game substitution: Traditionally this dish is made with ground lamb, but ground beef works as well.
Vegetarian substitution: On principle I am not a big fan of the vegetarian “meats,” but if there is a vegetarian “meat crumble” you like go ahead and use it. Since that stuff is pretty expensive, I’d suggest halving the recipe, or you can make a separate little pan of vegetarian pie if you are cooking for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Just cook it up the same way you do the meat version and throw it in a smaller casserole dish.

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