As you can expect, the topping for the savory pie is a heaping mound of mashed 'taters - however, as the spuds take a bit to boil and soften, we spent the time they were busy getting a head start on the rather potent filling. Instead of ground beef as the meat, we went for a few links of hot Italian turkey sausage for a zesty punch without the guilt.
Cooked to brown and crumble, we scooted the sausage out of the pan and added thinly sliced green cabbage, diced onion and a few cloves of sliced garlic. If you are using pork sausage, you'll probably have enough fat left behind to soften the vegetables, but if you use turkey as we did, drizzle in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil after the sausage to help them settle in and soften. Chicken broth and a restrained dollop of horseradish join the pan and cook down.
As the broth reduces and the filling intensifies, the already cooked sausage joins the pan once again, along with a handful of chopped fresh parsley. As all those shenanigans were happening, we did take care of those potatoes we had on the stove by draining away the salty water and adding them back to the hot pot for a minute to blast of any excess liquid. Using our trusty potato smasher, we mashed the potatoes to a rough smoothness with a combination of chicken broth and half-and-half. If you'd like to go a little more decadent, switch the second ingredient for cream - quite frankly you could just use a dairy product entirely if you like, but the broth is nice to add depth and make them a little lighter.
You have a couple options when it comes to finishing this off and serving - first would be "family style" by just leaving the sausage mixture in the cooking skillet and simply piling the mashers right on top. Option two, which is what we did, was to divvy the filling and topping between individual baking dishes. All that's left to be done is sliding the dishes (or skillet) under the broiler to give the potatoes a slightly crusty, golden tinge on top.
Call this what you like, but we'll opt for "a big 'ol plate of hearty comfort food" with lots of good-for-you ingredients inside. We greedily dished this out for four servings and found ourselves happily stuffed, but I don't see any issues with this filling out six portions. Jeff was wary of the cabbage, especially with the voluminous amount used, but it blended in quite well with the tangy zip from that horseradish bite and the heat from the sausage distracting him.
Spicy Sausage Shepherd’s Pie