Crab Shepherd's Pie

An unconventional spin on a Shepherd's Pie... and a delicious one at that!  Crab in a light creamy sauce made of Swiss, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses... a hint of white wine... smoked bacon, mushrooms, carrots and peas .. pearl onions... topped with mashed potatoes .. some snipped chives... have your interest yet?  I hope so..
Real crab is best.. that sweet flavor can't be beat... but if you're on a budget.. imitation crab is tasty too.
You can use leftover mashed potatoes or make them from scratch or even instant if you want... obviously real mashed potatoes are best...
For the white wine... I suggest a Sauvignon Blanc... nothing expensive.. just stay away from those "cooking wines" .. an inexpensive "real" wine is best.
I used white ground pepper .. you can use black pepper if you don't have white pepper.
Fat free half and half is really the best.. it makes a wonderfully smooth sauce without the fat.
I used fresh mushrooms... they're the best.. sliced thick or if they're small you can quarter them.
The smokey bacon adds a nice flavor to an otherwise fairly bland mixture.. make the bacon in the oven so while it heats up cooking the bacon you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.
I used frozen carrots and peas and pearl onions... I find they work the best.  No need to cook them or defrost them.. add them frozen.. they will cook while baking.
Try this delicious dinner... a quick super that has the most wonderful flavors.

Recipe:  Crab Shepherd's Pie
All you need:
3 strips thick sliced smoked bacon
1/2 pound crab meat, cut into small pieces
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced thick
1 1/2 cups frozen carrots and peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups fat free half and half
1/4 cup white wine *See TIPS
1 bag (5 oz.) Sargento Artisan Blend Swiss and Gruyere shredded cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and white pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
Chopped chives for topping
2 cups buttery mashed potatoes
All you need to do:
Place the bacon strips on a foil lined pan.  Put it into a cold oven and set the oven on 400 degrees F. Use a full size oven only… DO NOT USE A TOASTER OVEN.  Check it after 15 minutes…. ypu want hte bacon fat rendered but the bacon should still be pliable and not crispy. Keep a close eye on it, they can burn easily.  Remove the pan from the oven and immediately remove the bacon, drain on paper towels.  Chop into small pieces and set aside. 

Meanwhile in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the flour and mix well.. allow the butter/flour mixture to cook for about 2 minutes.. don't let it brown... turn the heat down a bit if you think it will start to brown. 

Slowly add the half and half, whisking constantly.... whisk until smooth.  Season with salt, white pepper and onion powder.  The sauce should start to thicken, add the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses.  Add the white wine and stir until the cheese has melted and sauce is thick.  

Add the frozen carrots and peas, pearl onions, mushrooms, bacon and crab.  Stir well.  Remove from the heat. 

Pour into a baking dish.  Top with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with chopped chives and a little shredded parmesan. 

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly along the sides and the top begins to brown slightly.

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