Table of Contents

  1. No Turkey? No Problem
  2. Sausage Shepherd’s Pie
    1. Directions
    2. Galley notes

No Turkey? No Problem

Thanksgiving ranks among my favorite holidays celebrated in the US primarily because it’s a celebration of food and family versus most other holidays that seem to focus on obligatory gift-giving.

Over the years, my celebration of this holiday has adapted to varying circumstances. If away from home, I celebrated with friends or at a casino. If the numbers were too few, I would roast a chicken instead of a turkey.

This year will be another example of adapting the celebration to our current circumstances. As you know, I’m well versed in the many incarnations of turkey however since Andrew is not a fan of any fowl, we opted instead to have…


Sausage Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is comfort food at its best. If you can’t already tell, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I’m a savory girl. Years ago when I was learning to sail, I brought this dish from Epicurious to a dock party with my friends from the California Sailing Coop.

It is rather elaborate with three different starches, and so I decided to simplify the recipe, use pantry-friendly ingredients, switch the prep order to minimize pots and pans used, and reduce the cooking time to better suit liveaboards.


In a large mixing bowl, combine

  • 1 can (8.25 oz) of peas and carrots including brine
  • 1/3 cup of whipping cream
  • 2 tbs AP flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground sage

In a 4 quart sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté

  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausage

until sausage is brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon. Cool and then transfer sausage to large mixing bowl.

In the same sauce pan, sauté

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

until tender and golden. Add onion mixture to sausage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool and then transfer to large mixing bowl.


Peel and cut into 2-inch pieces,

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 russet potato

Combined, the potatoes should be about 2 pounds. Cook in the same saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to saucepan and mash. Stir over medium heat until excess moisture evaporates, about 5 minutes.


  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbs turbinado sugar

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mash mixture until smooth.


Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 7 x 11 x 2-inch glass baking dish or other 4-cup equivalent baking dish. Transfer sausage mixture to prepared baking dish. Spoon mashed potato mixture over; smooth top to create a seal around the edges and prevent bubbling up.

Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan to catch spills.

Bake until heated through and potatoes begin to brown around edges, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Galley notes

  • Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bake for extra 15 minutes.
  • Since we had it on hand, I seasoned the mashed potatoes with truffle salt to give the dish a more earthy flavor.
  • Substitute turkey sausage to keep with the theme of Thanksgiving or hot Italian sausage if you want a little spice.
  • I have a 7 x 11 x 2-inch glass baking dish since it’s the only thing that will fit in my Force 10 oven. Typical 4-cup Pyrex dishes include 8 x 8 x 2-inch or feel free to use any other 4-cup equivalent you happen to have.
  • To make a gratinee style, feel free to garnish with gruyere cheese in the last 10 minutes of baking.
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