Pinellas County Potato Turbate “Updated”

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Reader Susan T. attended Starkey Elementary in Pinellas County, FL, in the early 1960s. Of all the school cafeteria food she ate there, one dish was a favorite: Potato Turbate. In Latin, “turbate” means to agitate. Cafeteria-hot-dish-wise, potato turbate is a stripped-down version of shepherds pie (i.e. no vegetables)– seasoned ground beef baked between layers of whipped (turbated?) potatoes. Turns out the dish is fondly remembered by lots ’50s and ’60s-era Florida school kids. “That dish is the one we get most requests for when people write in, or do menus for school reunions,” says Dolores McCoy, a longtime nutrition education specialist and menu planner for Pinellas County Schools. She says school cafeterias still serve Potato Turbate—but updated to include more vegetables. Here’s the new, turbate update.

Makes 10 servings

Meat and Vegetable Filling Ingredients

  • 1 lb plus 12 oz ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp celery, diced
  • 2 Tbsp onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp carrots, shredded
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 16 oz package brown gravy mix
  • 1 2/3 cups beef stock
  • ¼ tsp granulated garlic
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Scant 1 tsp. light soy sauce
  • Sprinkle of Worchestershire sauce

Whipped Potatoes Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups instant mashed potato pearls
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsp margarine, or butter, melted
  • Paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In saute pan, brown ground beef. Add vegetables. Saute until tender. Drain any fat. Gradually add flour and seasoning to beef and vegetable mixture. Stir in beef gravy mix. Add Stock. Simmer five minutes until thickened. Spread layer of beef mixture in bottom of baking pan. Prepared mashed potatoes as directed on package. Spread potatoes over beef. Brush top with melted butter and dust lightly with paprika. Bake at 400 degrees until lightly brown on top (about 30 minutes.)

2 thoughts on “Pinellas County Potato Turbate “Updated”

  1. Thank you so much I went to Southside Junior High and Lakewood High School so I really do remember this dish. Can’t wait to make it!!!

  2. I have waited a long time for this recipe. i keep telling my kids about it. they’ve never heard of it. But they have heard of the one where you add vegetables to it. Thanks again!!!!!

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