Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buffalo chicken shepherd's pie

This recipe sprang from a chain of inspirations. I found the idea on Once a Month Mom, who was inspired by My Kitchen Addiction, who started with Rachel Ray's buffalo chicken chili recipe. I made my own tweaks: most notably, I removed the dairy and subbed ranch-seasoned mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. I also got a trick from The Clothes Make The Girl and used egg whites to keep the meat mixture cohesive. This way I was able to cut it into neat little slices instead of having ground chicken spill out everywhere.

Usually I use a steamer for mashed cauliflower to keep it thick and fluffy, but as a topping for shepherd's pie it doesn't matter as much. I just nuked cauliflower florets in the microwave and dumped them in the food processor. Frozen would work fine for this, too. I found a recipe for sugar-free dairy-free ranch seasoning mix at Low Carb One Day which I used in the cauliflower mash. At first I was worried that I overdid the seasoning, but it ended up being a perfect foil for the spicy chicken.

All in all, it was a delicious entree, the leftovers still tasted great, and it bypasses the need for a separate veggie side. I'll definitely be making this one again.

BUFFALO CHICKEN SHEPHERD'S PIE
Makes 8 hearty portions

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup each diced celery, diced onion, and diced carrot (I just used a 14.5 oz container of mirepoix from Trader Joe's instead)
  • 5 tsp ghee, bacon fat, or butter (divided use)
  • 2 lbs ground chicken (or ground turkey)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (preferably fire-roasted), drained
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites or 3 raw fresh egg whites
  • 1.5-2 lbs cauliflower florets (frozen is fine)
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 recipe dry ranch seasoning (recipe follows)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp fat, then add the celery, onion, and carrot. Saute until softened but not brown. Add the ground chicken or turkey, crumbling it with your hands. Cook, continuing to crumble with a wooden spoon, until it is fully cooked and no longer pink. If desired, take the pan off heat and drain the accumulated fat (I use a turkey baster), then put back on the stove on medium-high. Season with garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix in the tomato paste, then add the chicken broth and wing sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered.
  3. While the meat is simmering, make your cauliflower mash. If using frozen, cook according to package directions and drain. For fresh, put in a covered container and microwave for 4 minutes on high. Taste a piece and continue microwaving for 1 minute intervals if necessary until completely soft and just slightly overcooked. Set it in a food processor with the lemon juice, 1 Tbs ghee (or other fat), and salt to taste (I like a lot of salt in these, I probably used about a tablespoon). Add the ranch seasoning and pulse it in until just combined.
  4. Take the meat mixture off heat and quickly stir in the egg whites. Transfer it to a 13"x9" pan and spread it out evenly. Dollop the cauliflower mash over the top, then spread it out evenly (I used dampened hands for this). Run the tines of a fork along the top to create ridges and spread it out a bit more. Melt the remaining teaspoon of fat and drizzle it over the top.
  5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. If desired, run it under the broiler to brown the top. Let cool before serving.

RANCH SEASONING MIX
Closely adapted from Low Carb One Day
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I think next time, instead of adding this directly to the cauliflower I will just sprinkle paprika over the top)

4 comments:

BeckaSki said...

Erica, this is delicious! (Along with everything of yours I've ever made). I made a double batch and stuck a bunch in the freezer for busy times later in the year.

Erica said...

Becka, glad to hear it! Good idea to make one for freezing :)

Tricia said...

Just made this... It was AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing.

Erica said...

Thanks for letting me know, Tricia! Glad you liked it :)

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