Note: The inspiration for the dish is hachis Parmentier, the French version of shepherd’s pie and one of the tastiest ways to make a meal out of leftovers or inexpensive cuts of meat. This version depends less on leftovers and more on what’s in the refrigerator. Use the vegetables called for here, or tinker with your own medley: Cubes of butternut squash and turnips are good options, as are leeks and jarred, drained chestnuts. Serve in a single dish or cook individual portions in deep gratin dishes. To make ahead: The chicken and mashed sweet potatoes can be cooked (separately), cooled and refrigerated a day in advance. The casserole(s) can be assembled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. The baked casseroles can be reheated, covered, in a conventional or microwave oven. From Dorie Greenspan.
• 3 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 2 fresh chicken sausages or pork sausages (about 6 oz. total), spicy or mild, casings removed
• 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1- to 2-in. chunks
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tsp.peeled, minced fresh ginger root
• 4 medium carrots, scrubbed well and cut into small chunks (or sliced about 1/2-in. thick)
• 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks (or sliced about 1/2-in. thick)
• 3 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1/2-in. thick slices
• 2 tsp. curry powder
• 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
• 2 points of 1 whole star anise
• 1 1/4 c. no-salt-added chicken broth
• 2 c. packed baby kale or spinach
• About 3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-in. chunks
Pour 1/2 tablespoon oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the sausages. Cook, stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon to break up any clumps, until the meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Pour 1/4 cup water into the skillet and stir to dislodge any browned bits; let it come to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl. Drain off any remaining water and return the skillet to medium heat.
Pour in 1 tablespoon oil and, when hot, add the chicken thighs. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to the bowl with the sausage. Season the chicken and sausage lightly with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet (over medium heat). Toss in the onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, parsnips and celery, stirring to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, garam masala, turmeric and points of star anise.
Return the chicken and sausage to the skillet; pour in the broth. Give the mixture a good stir, cover and cook over medium-low heat (you want to keep the broth slightly bubbling) for about 10 minutes. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Turn off the heat, stir in the kale or spinach and, once again, taste for salt and pepper. Pull out and discard the points of star anise. Let cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Drop in the sweet potatoes and cook until soft enough to mash against the side of the pot, about 20 minutes. Drain them well, transfer to a bowl and mash until smooth. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, which will make any spillover cleanup a snap. Place a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, casserole or soufflé dish or individual gratin dishes (not lowballed) on the sheet.
Spoon the chicken-vegetable mixture into the baking dish or divide evenly among the gratin dishes. Top with the mashed sweet potatoes (spoon them over or pipe the potatoes on from a ziptop bag with a corner snipped off).
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are browned and, most important, the juices are bubbling. You’ll see them burbling up around the edges of the baking dish. Serve right away.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 430 Fat 16 g Sodium 630 mg
Carbohydrates 47 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 120 mg
Protein 26 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 9 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 bread/starch, 2 ½ lean meat, 1 ½ fat.