Frito Shepherd’s Pie from Cleo Coyle #glutenfree recipe

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Our readers may recognize this pie from our 13th culinary mystery,
 Billionaire BlendIn the book, Detective Mike Quinn tells the story of solving a homicide with members of the NYPD Bomb Squad (historically known as the Italian Squad). 

When the case is done, members of the squad take Quinn to a pub for a night of Frito Shepherd’s Pies and Irish Car Bombs (the kind you drink). Well, this is the very pie that Detective Quinn enjoyed. 

To continue reading this post, scroll down or click here or on the "read more" link below...

~ Cleo






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LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN...

This fantastic one-pan dinner is like a cross between a tasty taco and a pan of loaded potato skins. It's our own unique conflation of a Tex-Mex Frito Pie and a Shepherd's Pie. It's nutritious, too, and a nice alternative to pizza, especially for gluten-free eaters. We'll say it again...


It’s nutritious!

We make ours with lean ground meat and (super-food) black beans and whip up our mashed potatoes with the skins on. The next day, we zap a leftover slice in the microwave for an instant taco salad.


What about Fritos? Aren't they "junk" food?

Let’s take a look…



Fritos have exactly three ingredients: Corn, Corn Oil, and Salt. That’s it. No preservatives, no gluten, no MSG, and zero trans fat. Compare these corn chips to some brands of taco shells that include not-so-great ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils and you may be surprised. Likewise, Doritos flavors often include food colorings, preservatives, and MSG.

As I mentioned above, for added health here you can make sure your taco meat is lean or use a mix of ground beef and ground turkey. You can include a generous portion of healthful black beans or another legume and top it with good-for-you guacamole, jalapeno, and/or salsa (tomatoes, peppers, and onions).

May you eat with joy! 


~ Cleo



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A Special Tip


This recipe is deceptively simple. Yes, you start with a basic Frito Pie and top it with a Shepherd’s Pie crust of mashed potatoes. But here’s the trick to keeping the flavors balanced and avoiding a big mouth full of potatoes: We make our mashed potato crust very thin and mix it with a secret ingredient—sour cream.

Sour cream is a classic topping for Mexican dishes, but it’s also fantastic with potatoes, so it adds the perfect flavor note to the recipe, and truly turns our savory pie into a delicious cross between a tasty taco and a pan of loaded potato skins.

So if you’re tired of pizza (or looking for a gluten-free indulgence), consider this wonderful one-dish dinner. It’s easy to make and tastes fantastic with an ice cold beer. (FYI - For suggestions on gluten-free beers, click here.)

Cleo Coyle's 
Frito Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients: 

1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
          (*see recipe at end or use leftovers)

1/2 cup sour cream

1-3/4 cups whole Fritos Corn Chips + 1/4 cup crushed Frito chips for garnish

1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground meat made into chili or taco meat filling (optional, for added nutrition and fiber, replace some of the meat with black beans or kidney beans)

8 ounces Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or taco cheese mix, shredded

1 jalapeno pepper, cut into rings (optional)



Prep Step—Make your mash: Re-warm leftover mashed potatoes in a microwave or on stovetop. Whisk in sour cream. To make mashed potatoes from scratch, see the directions at the end of this recipe. Set finished mashed potatoes aside.


Build Pie with...

Layer 1—Fritos: Line the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan (or casserole dish or deep dish pie pan) with a single layer of whole Fritos corn chips (about 1-3/4 cups).




Layer 2—Meat (and optional beans): Heat your chili or taco meat (and beans) until it’s nice and hot, and then evenly spoon it over the layer of corn chips in the pan, covering the chips completely. 

Layer 3—Cheese: Sprinkle a little over half of the shredded cheese on top of the meat. 






Layer 4—Taters: Now dollop the warm mashed potatoes and sour cream from Prep Step over the meat and cheese. Use the back of the spoon to carefully smooth it into a thin, even layer. This is a thin layer so take your time and do it gently.

Layer 5—Garnish: Sprinkle the top of the pie with 
the rest of the shredded cheese and the final 1/4 cup of crushed Fritos corn chips.



Broil: Finish the pie for a few minutes under a preheated broiler. Watch for the cheese to melt and the potatoes to become lightly browned on their edges. This will take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes, depending on your broiler. (Check often because broilers can burn things very easily!). Cut into slices and serve immediately. You can further garnish with jalapeno rings, salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, olives, or other favorite toppings you might use for tacos or nachos.

Leftovers: This pie reheats like a dream. A slice of it also makes a great instant taco salad. Warm up a slice in the microwave and break it up over a fresh bowl of lettuce. Throw on some slices of avocado and olives or a fresh dollop of guacamole, and you’re set for a quick, healthful lunch.



TO MAKE FRESH MASHED POTATOES: Start with 3 large (or 6 small) white potatoes, about 1-½ pounds. Wash and cut into thick slices, leaving skins on for better nutrition, and boil for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when fork tested. Drain well. Follow recipe as directed, mixing potatoes first with sour cream, and continuing.
 





Free Recipe PDF

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Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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