Chicken Tikka Masala Shepherds Pie

I love playing around with shepherds pie ideas.  I know I get a lot of flack for calling things "shepherds" pie when there isn't lamb, but to me shepherds pie is anything with meat on the bottom, mashed potato on top, and goes into an oven.  This idea came from the thought of topping a meaty curry with a sort of aloo gobi mixture.  I weighed some options and this was the version I ended up going with.  It came out great!
Some onion and jalapenos browning up in the pan. I missed a few pictures here so let me explain what happened next. The chicken goes in here, and so do the spices and canned tomatoes. Once the chicken is shreddy, kill the heat and stir in some yogurt. The topping was some potatoes and cauliflower. Mash the potato until smooth, and then mash the cauliflower a little more but keep it chunky. Top the chicken mixture with the potato mixture in a baking dish and cook until the top is nice and brown. I made this the night before the most recent snowstorm, and it was one of those things where some friends were bunkered down in my apartment and we all just ate it slowly throughout the course of the next few days. Pure comfort. Honestly it tasted best the second day. The sauce is spicy and very flavorful with all the different spices, and the potato mixture is creamy and the perfect foil for all that sauce flavor.

Chicken Tikka Masala Shepherds Pie

For:  6 Servings

  • 1.5 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 28 Ounces Canned Crushed Tomato
  • 1 Onion (sliced)
  • 5 Jalapenos (chopped)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (grated)
  • 2 Inches Ginger (grated)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ajwain Seed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Fenugreek
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom
  • 1/4 Cup Strained Yogurt
  • 3 Potatoes
  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 1 Stick Butter

Instructions

  1. Roast the potatoes at 350 until tender.
  2. Toast the spices and crush them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add the garlic and ginger and grind to a paste. Set aside.
  3. Break up the cauliflower into florets and roast at 450 to brown.
  4. Mash the potatoes with the butter until smooth. Add a splash of milk if needed. Mash in the cauliflower but keep it chunky.
  5. Sear the chicken on high heat to brown and remove from the pan. Add in the onion and jalapeno and cook for about 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Add in the paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and scrape any residue from the pan. Add the chicken back in and stir. Simmer until the chicken is tender and shreddy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.
  6. Put the chicken tomato mixture into a baking dish. Top with the potato mixture. Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes until the top is nice and browned. Serve.