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New Mexican Shepherd's Pie {Meatless Monday}

This recipe was sent to me by my sister in law, Beth. Beth has 5 kids and is pretty much an expert at feeding her kids healthy dinners! She only sends me dinners that her kids eat without complaining, and that's why she sent over this Shepherd's Pie!  This bean dish is perfect for #fiberweek- Pinto beans have 15 grams of fiber per cup! Thanks Beth!   


Have you ever been to New Mexico? If you have, you probably know something about the craze surrounding green chilies. They are everywhere! In the summer even the smell of roasting green chilies pervades the air, as roadside stands will build a fire, put a 50 gallon drum over it, fill it with chilies, and roll the drum to turn and evenly roast tons of chilies at a time. When our family lived in Santa Fe for a summer, we found green chilies included in just about every dish, including on hamburgers at joints like Wendy’s. We totally succumbed to the trend, because green chilies are just that good! One of our favorite dishes among the delicious southwest cuisine in New Mexico was a simple shepherd’s pie with a green chili twist. When we moved back home after my husband’s internship was done, we craved this dish the most, so I did my best to recreate it. A few years later I even won second place in a national recipe contest, because it is just that good!

Now that I use more beans and vegetables over meat in my cooking, I’ve modified it again. It is a perfect combination of beans (full of fiber), squash (vitamins and minerals), mashed potatoes (kid-friendly), plus a little cheese (crowd-pleasing). Not to mention the end result is delicious!! There are a few steps to put the pie together, which makes this recipe good for doubling – make one pan for your family for dinner, one pan for the freezer for a future night of no-mess/prep cooking. I've broken the recipe down by the layers of the dish. I hope you love it as much as we do!

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This recipe has 4 layers- It might seem like a lot of work, but when you break it down, it isn't complicated at all!

Layer 1-  A delicious bean, tomato, onion layer. Layer 2 is spaghetti squash. Layer three is mashed potatoes, and layer 4 is green chile sauce and cheese. (full recipe below)

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New Mexican Shepherd's Pie {Meatless Monday}


Instructions

Layer 1-Beans Layer:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 cups (or one 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed) pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz. can diced Mexican-style tomatoes (choose mild if your kids don’t like spicy food)

Sauté chopped onion in 1 tsp. olive oil four about four minutes over medium-high heat, until onions are softened. Add garlic powder, salt, and cumin. Meanwhile, in a 9X13 pan, spread beans in bottom of pan. Top with onions, beans and tomatoes.

Layer 2- Squash Layer:

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Pierce skin of squash with a sharp knife all over, about ten times. Put in microwave for 10 minutes. Check for doneness: if you can squeeze the squash and the skin gives in, it is ready to use. If it is still too firm to give in when squeezed, keep microwaving at 2 minute increments until fully cooked. After microwaving, allow squash to cool for about ten minutes before slicing open in half, lengthwise. The squash will be full of steam, so be careful. Scoop out the seeds and dark yellow “hairs” that are in the center of any gourd squash. Divide 1 tbsp. olive oil between two halves of squash, adding it right into the middle of the squash while you use a fork to scrape the squash off the shell.

Scoop squash flesh onto bean layer and smooth over. Season with salt and pepper, to taste

Layer 3- Mashed Potato Layer:

  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp. fat-free sour cream OR plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a lidded pot with enough water to cover potatoes, bring potatoes to a boil on high heat. Once water is boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer potatoes until fork tender. Remove from heat. Drain most of water out of pot, but leave in about a ½ cup of water to keep potatoes moist for mashing. Using a potato masher or kitchen beaters, mash potatoes until smooth, adding in sour cream and butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover potatoes while you prep other ingredients.

Next add mashed potatoes to casserole, smoothing out each layer as you go.

Layer 4-Green Chili Layer:

  • 1 4 oz. can mild green chilies
  • 16 oz. jar green chili sauce (if you can’t find El Pinto, which is SO good, you can substitute a jar of mild green salsa/salsa verde)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Beth's recipe called for mozzarella, but I used monterey jack)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Open the green chili sauce and pour over potatoes. Add can of green chilies on top of sauce, doing your best to evenly disperse the chilies. Top it all with mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil.

 

Bake the shepherd’s pie in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for a half hour, or until the pie is heated through. Remove foil covering and broil on low for an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese started to bubble and turn golden. Serve warm.

*This shepherd’s pie freezes really well. If freezing, assemble the pie as normal, but do not put in freezer until the pie has completely cooled (this may take up to 2 hours).  If pie is still warm, leave uncovered on a countertop until cooled. Then cover with plastic wrap, making sure to push plastic wrap down so it is in contact with food – don’t pull the plastic wrap tight across the dish because you don’t want air between the food and the plastic wrap. Then double wrap the entire dish in aluminum foil. This is your best defense against freezer burn.

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Comments

val
03/17/2014 9:54am
What is the serving size?
03/17/2014 9:56am
This all went in a 13X9 pan, so we cut it into about 15 squares. They are large squares.

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