Italianized Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Judith Klinger, with an Italian – poultrified – take on the classic British Shepherd’s Pie.
Text And Photo By Judith Klinger

Shepherd's Pie
Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s pie is a classic dish from the British Isles, but variations on the dish exist anywhere there are potatoes and a bit of leftover meat.

According to Wiki, it’s “pastel del popa” in Argentina, it’s ‘hachis Parmentier’ in France,  it’s ‘siniyet batata’ in Syria & Libya, and ‘pate chinois’ in Quebec. Although why a potato topped meat pie made in Canada is a “Chinese pie” is beyond me.

We have left over roast chicken so I’m calling it Chicken Shepherd Pie or “Tarta di Pollo dello Pastore” because I made it in Italy!  The name doesn’t matter, what does matter is that you turn your leftovers into something delicious and that you tailor the ingredients to what you have on hand and to what flavors you like. That is the beauty of being the cook, you get to make it your way.

Chicken Shepherd's Pie
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
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Turn your left over roasted meats into a delicious new dish. Get creative with this variation on a classic mashed potato topped shepherd's pie.
Author:
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 2
Ingredients
The Filling
  • 1 cup chopped left over roast chicken, this is approximate. If you have less chicken, add more vegetables
  • ⅓ cup, 225 g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 T, 3g flour
  • ¼ cup, 25dl chicken stock
Potato Topping:
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 T, 28 g mustard
  • 2 T, 28g butter
  • 2T, 6g milk
  • salt, pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 305F/180C
  2. Boil the peeled and cubed potatoes in salted water until tender. About 15 minutes.
  3. Chop the carrots, onion, celery into small pieces. Add a small quantity of olive oil to a saute pan, and saute the vegetables over medium heat until soft and snuggly, not browned.
  4. Remove the chicken meat from the bones if you haven’t already done so and roughly chop the meat into bite size pieces.
  5. Lower the heat on the sauteed vegetables and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour, mixing well to coat all of the vegetables. Add ¼ cup of chicken stock or a little more if you want a wetter, more stew like consistency in your pie. Stir until the stock has thickened.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the heat and pour into a bowl, add the chopped chicken meat and the peas and mix well.
  7. By now the potatoes should be tender. Drain and adding the mustard, butter, and milk, push the potatoes through a potato ricer. I don’t know the science behind this, but mashed potatoes made in a ricer make for a much fluffier mash and require less butter or milk. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Use small, individual crocks for the pies. This discourages fighting over the last scraps if you make one big pie. Fill the pie pans with equal amounts of the filling, and top with the mashed potato crust.
  9. Bake in the oven until the filling is bubbling and the crust has browned a bit. Approximately 30 minutes.

Judith Klinger

Judith Klinger is a culinary events producer, former Director of Operations for the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Judith and her husband, Jeff Albucher are the creators of Aroma Cucina, an Italian lifestyle blog. She is the author of Cooking Simply The Italian Way.

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7 Comments
    1. Actually they are called cluckers. In medieval times, the Duke di Pollo would hire short, wide people as cluckers. They would stand arms width apart and act as a living fence. If a chicken ventured near the perimeter, the cluckers would make loud, uh, clucking noises and scare the chickens back into the courtyard.
      Cluckers were not permitted to leave their post so their wives or daughters would bring them something they could eat, standing up, with their hands.

      The shepherd’s guild took pity on the clucker’s plight and welcomed them into the guild and that is how chicken shepherd’s pie was created.
      -Source: Fractured Facts & Fairy Tales

  1. Thanks for the recipe – this is tonight’s dinner! As for why it is called Pate Chinois in Quebec, maybe I can help (living in Quebec and all!)… legend has it that during the late 19th century, while building Canada’s very long Trans-Canada highway, Chinese immigrants were called in to help with the work. Eastern Quebec was a very desolate place and you can imagine the lack of fresh foods. About the only thing folks had was pork, beef and potatoes. This dish was cooked up to serve hundreds of Chinese immigrants and while the ingredients are similar, the name was awarded in honour of the workers who ate it!

    1. Would you please help me out with the ingredients measurements.

      1 T, 28 g mustard. Does this mean one tablespoon plus 28 grams of mustard?

      2 T, 28g butter. Does this mean 2 tablespoons plus 28 grams of butter?

      2T, 6g milk. Does this mean 2 tablespoons plus 6 grams of milk?

  2. Judith,
    You are the best. Anyone that can use “snuggly” in a sentence, not much less a recipe, is an ace in my book!
    Cheers,
    Matt in Denver

  3. hi the name chinese pie or pate chinois came from the french who used to work on the railway… they had chinese cooks which made the dish so often the french began to call it this..

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