Chicken Shepherd’s Pie and Pear Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

I prepared this dinner last night, not expecting anything great. The ingredients sounded good, but Shepherd’s Pie has been a winter recipe that I may make once a year. The one I usually make calls for ground beef and is really good, but it’s also very filling. This one tastes light and filling at the same time. It doesn’t leave one feeling stuffed to the brim (given an “appropriate” portion size). It was truly scrumptious! The salad is simple and delicious – the pears really make it pop. I cut the pear slices in half only to make it easier to eat. Enjoy!

Recipes

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:
2t unsalted butter
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 t minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup pearl onions
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt and black pepper to taste

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 T unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 T Dijon Mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with rack in center position.
Melt 2 T butter in a large sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Cover pan and sweat until softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Add sherry and stir until absorbed. Stir in broth. Add chicken, peas, pearl onions and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing the potato topping, about 20 minutes.

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until fork-tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Cook over low heat to remove excess moisture, stirring constantly about 1 minute. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until no large lumps are present. Add 4 T butter and stir with a spoon until incorporated, smashing any more clumps. Stir in Cheddar and Dijon until cheese melts into potatoes. Season with salt.

Spoon topping, dropping by large scoopfuls over filling in pan. You can use a small ice cream scoop for consistent scoops, or simply use two large table spoons.) Place in oven and bake until topping is lightly browned – about 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Pear Salad with Parmesan- peppercorn dressing – serves 6

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 t coarsely grated ground black pepper
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
1/2 t kosher salt

2 heads Romain lettuce, chopped
2 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced and chopped in half
3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Directions
Combine first 7 ingredients in a container with a lid. Attach lid securely and shake until combined.
Toss lettuce, pears walnuts with dressing and serve.

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