Smoky-Cayenne Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4

2 strips of smoked bacon-optional but highly recommended
1 ½ lbs. lean ground turkey, chicken or beef
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika, plus some to sprinkle over potatoes
1-2 tbsp white wine or chicken/beef stock (to deglaze pan)
1/4 -1/2 cup Frank’s red hot sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
5 cups mashed potatoes
¼ cup sour cream
1 ounce Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1-2 ounces blue cheese

Preheat oven to 375. If you are making your own potatoes, I would make them ahead of beginning the meat part and set out to cool.

In a skillet, cook bacon on medium heat until nearly crisp and then add meat. Then, when meat is cooked fully, add onion, celery, carrots, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened and add white wine or stock, cook for a few minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the hot sauce and taste, add more if needed. If you are using store-bought potatoes, heat according to directions and then add the sour cream and both cheeses, stirring in a bowl. If you are using homemade potatoes, add the cheeses and sour cream here, mixing well. Place meat in the bottom of a casserole dish and place potatoes on top, either leaving them in dumpling shapes or spreading over the meat completely, it’s your choice. Sprinkle more smoked paprika over the top if you’d like. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly.