Golden Poppies our State Wildflower

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's Pie; The BEST Chicken Burgers Ever RECIPES, back stories DR WHO?, and name dropping

I have just been watching a docudrama of the making of the first Dr Who series in London at BBC TV Center. It brought back all  the happy memories I have of working as part of the large kitchen brigade there, in the early 70's
There were something like 36 head cooks working 24 hour shifts that catered to thousands of meals per week; as there was always something being filmed or created.
I have even stepped into the original T.A.R.D.I.S. and been on the set, when John Pertwee played the Dr.

Such happy times and one of the most  requested dishes was traditional Shepherd's Pie...requested by movies and pop stars galore; we could never make enough.

Here in California where people are eating a little more healthy, my Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's Pie is always in demand.
Traditional Shepherd's pie contains mutton or lamb; it if contains beef it is called Cottage Pie, I have no idea what the term is for Chicken..except Delicious comes to mind.

The  early 19th century way of making this pie was to grease a pie dish and line the base & sides with mashed potatoes, add a filling of minced cooked lamb( generally the meat leftover from Sunday Lunch, so this was a popular dish served on Mondays) and gravy, some chopped onions and topping with more mashed potatoes. Then it was brushed with egg wash and baked for 30-40mins in a moderate oven 350F

Here is my recipe for Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's pie, California Style

 serves 4

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tbsp neutral oil

Saute in a saucepan for 8 - 10 mins until they release their moisture.
Add 1 pound finely ground RAW chicken or turkey (do not use pure white meat as it is too dry, use a 50:50 ratio)
And cook for 5 mins, stirring well, try not to brown the meat, or vegetables.
Cover the meat and vegetables with hot chicken stock and add 2 tsp ground/dried sage.
Simmer with a lid for 30 mins, removing any scum that floats to the surface.
Thicken with either cornstarch mixed in stock or all purpose flour mixed in stock.
Check seasonings, adding salt and pepper.
Add 1 cup defrosted, drained garden peas or sweetcorn.
This should be a very rich, thick, gravy with meat and vegetables

Pour into a buttered,  deep 2 qt oven proof casserole.

Allow to cool for 20 mins

Top  GENTLY, with well buttered, mashed potatoes.

BAKE ON A COOKIE SHEET  30-45 mins until top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and wait 10 mins before serving.

This was a big favorite of the movie director, Sir John Schlesinger, and when he was staying at his home in Palm Springs, I regularly made him this and had it delivered, on dry ice.

Variations..you may add grated Cheddar Cheese to the top
Mushrooms may be added to the vegetables
At the Beeb to stretch the meat sometimes we added oatmeal, which apparently was a Scottish idea and also something that came out of WW2!

The BEST ever Chicken Burgers.
.....this began as a way of enjoying hamburgers more, without all the cholesterol.They almost ended as the only thing a certain Rock Star wanted to eat...lol

serves 4-6

you will also need hamburger buns, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, mustard, low calorie mayo, horseradish, sweet pickle, BUT please NO Cheese.

2 pounds ground chicken ( 50:50 ratio dark and white meat)

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup parsley off stalks
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 large egg whites

salt & ground black pepper

In a food processor...pulse the onion and parsley with the egg whites until everything is smooth.
Fold this into the ground chicken ( I find it better to work with clean hands for this).
Add 1/2 the bread crumbs and  salt & pepper...now stir with a fork or table knife..adding more crumbs until the mixture is firm to the touch.

Cover in plastic wrap  and chill for at least 1 hour but no longer than 2 hours.

With clean hands shape into burger sizes. Do not over work, these should be light burgers, not compressed. Cook on griddle or in a lightly greased heavy bottomed skillet..or wrap in waxed paper and foil and freeze for later use (these can be cooked from frozen if thin enough).

These are fantastic

Variation season with garlic salt in place of plain salt

This may also be cooked as a meatloaf but you will probably have to add some extra crumbs so it will stand without compacting.

They may also double as meatballs if cooked and then simmered in a good Marinara sauce and served with pasta.

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