Turkish Shepherd's Pie Kebab

Classic meat and potatoes, the Turkish way! I see a lot of versions of this on Pinterest, with the meat portion and potato portion shaped in different ways, but the dish overall consisting of all the same parts. The dishes get different names, but really, it's these components in some configuration. 

The easiest way, and the most like a classic shepherd's pie, would be to press the meatloaf mixture into a shallow baking pan, and then when the time comes, pour on the sauce then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. I've seen that done. But this shaping the meat into individual cups to hold the potato topping is even more common, although the exact shape varies quite a bit. For some reason Turkish dishes often are made into a group of clearly delineated portions like this. Perhaps it's so that if you have a large family, you know the dish will make it all they way around the table without running out because the first people to be served take too much? Or maybe I'm over-thinking it. 

At any rate, these were cute, not hard to make, and a very satisfying take on the theme of meat and potatoes. I used lamb, which is always the proper meat to use in a shepherd's pie; otherwise it's technically a cottage pie although few people seem to stick to that convention these days.
 
4 to 8 servings
2 hours. This is going to take 2 hours, with 1 1/2 hours being prep time.
 
 
Mix the Spices:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
freshly ground black pepper to taste 
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons rubbed dry mint

Grind the salt and allspice berries, then mix all the remaining spices with them in a small bowl.

Make the Meat Patties:
1 medium onion
1 small carrot
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 medium red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
500 grams (1 pound) ground beef OR lamb
1 large egg
 
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking pan. 
 
Peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and grate the carrot. Wash, trim, and shred the cabbage. Deseed the pepper and dice it finely. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and cook the onion and carrot until softened. Mix in the little bowl of spices. Add the garlic then the cabbage, and cook, stirring until just wilted down. Transfer it all to a mixing bowl and let it cool. 

Mix in the ground meat and the egg by hand, until you have a smooth evenly blended mixture. 

Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions, and form each one into a ball. Then press in the middle and shape each ball into a shallow bowl. Place them in an oiled baking pan, that fits them snugly but in a single layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (the time necessary to cook the potatoes).

Make the Potato Topping:
700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash, trim, and peel (if you like) the potatoes. Cut them into even chunks. Put them in a pot with water to cover them well, and bring to boil. Boil steadily until fork tender; 10 to 15 minutes. Drain them well and mash them with the butter, yogurt, salt, and pepper. 

Finish the Dish:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
125 grams (1/4 pound) Cheddar cheese 

When the potatoes are cooked and mashed, and cool enough to handle (but still fairly hot) divide them into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, flatten slightly, and place one on each hot, partially-cooked piece of meat. 
 
Mix the tomato sauce and water, and pour it around the meat patties.

Grate the cheese and sprinkle it over the dish. Bake at 375°F for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.




Last year at this time I made Vietnamese Style Noodle Salad.

Turkish Shepherd's Pie Kebab