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TASTEMADE: Bill Bracken's Kitchen Reset Shepherd's Pie

The best way to empty out your fridge AND cook dinner? Chef Bill Bracken of Bracken's Kitchen schools us on how to make the most of the food we already have with his Kitchen Reset Shepherd's Pie — a classic comfort dish that'll help you save money and prevent food waste.


  • 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1 tablespoon roasted garlic

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 4 carrots sliced

  • 3 celery stalks, sliced

  • 3 yellow squash

  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs

  • 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, diced

  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme, parsley and rosemary, plus more for topping

  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or stock of choice

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, blended, optional

  • 2 cups baby kale or spinach

  • 2 cups frozen peas

  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan

  • Green onion, chopped, for garnish

For the sour cream sauce:

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • Chopped thyme, parsley and rosemary

  • Note: swap any ingredients for whatever you have handy in your fridge!


1. Prepare the sour cream sauce: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth and well blended.

2. Prepare mashed potatoes: Peel potatoes then boil until soft. Blend with two-thirds of the sour cream sauce, adding it gradually. If needed for texture, gradually add in heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. Season potatoes with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare the casserole: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Heat oil in large deep skillet on high heat. Add meat and brown well, breaking meat into quarter-sized chunks with a spoon or spatula. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add garlic and onions and continue to cook. Add carrots, celery and squash. When meat is brown on all sides but still a little pink inside, add herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes and chipotle. Simmer until reduced. Add kale or spinach and continue cooking until wilted. Remove from the heat.

5. Place ground meat mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top mixture with frozen peas, then layer with mashed potatoes. Top with herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and grated Parmesan cheese.

6. Place in middle of preheated oven. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown, then allow to cool for 5 minutes. Dollop the casserole with the remaining sour cream sauce before serving.



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