Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

After picking out the broccoli and the cauliflower for a quiche, harvesting the carrots and the sweet potatoes for a soup, and depositing the greens into a salad, all that was left of last week’s farm share was delicata squash, watermelon radishes, and scarlet turnips. Decisions, decisions.

Shepherd’s pie. Kind of. Sort of. OK, not really. But after reading Blair’s recipe for squashed mac and cheese, I started wondering where else I could sneak in some mashed squash. And because I’ve had shepherd’s pie on the brain since snagging a pound of local ground beef at last week’s farmer’s market, I went for it. Or a root-heavy version of it, with braised radishes and turnips on the bottom, ground beef in the middle, and mashed squash on top. I'm calling it squashed shepherd's pie, which seems especially appropriate given the photo above. It might have deconstructed a bit in the serving, but, boy, was it tasty—like fall on a plate.

2 delicata squash (or acorn or buttercup)
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus a little bit more
1 Tbsp butter; more if desired
1 Tbsp milk
salt, pepper, and spices to taste

1-2 lbs scarlet turnips and watermelon radishes, or other root veggies
1 Tbsp butter; more if desired
1 c white wine or water or stock
salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb raw ground beef, fully thawed if previously frozen
1 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibrous bits. Grease a baking dish with the olive oil and lay the squash cut-side down. Drizzle with more olive oil. Bake for 50 minutes or until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, peel and trim the root veggies and chop into 1-inch chunks. Melt the butter in a deep saucepan and add the root veggies, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine (or water or stock, or some combo thereof) and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Then uncover and turn up the heat to cook off the remaining liquid, braising the veggies in their juices, 10 to 15 minutes more. When the liquid has cooked off and the veggies have cooled slightly, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a deep pie plate or round baking dish. This is the bottom layer of your shepherd’s pie.

Is the squash done? If so, remove it from the oven and let it cool. When it’s safe to touch, scoop the squash from its skin into the pot you cooked the root veggies in (to minimize dirty pots, not for flavor). Add butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Season as desired; I went for a dash each of nutmeg and thyme. Mash as if you’re making mashed potatoes. Set aside. Turn oven down to 375.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and carrots in olive oil until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and sauté 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring frequently, until the meat has thoroughly browned. Add the flour to soak up any excess oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to stir for another minute or two.

Using a slotted spoon, ladle your ground beef on top of the root veggies in your baking dish. Then spoon your mashed squash over the top, smoothing to create an even layer. Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes, until the squash browns a bit. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before digging in.

STILL HUNGRY? Browse the CSA Cookoff file for more HOMEGROWN recipes.

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