Paleo Shepherd's Pie

As the winter and rainy season is upon us, I find myself craving comfort foods more and more.   This recipe originally from Health-Bent may be a little bit of work, but trust me when I say it's worth the time and effort involved.  Your new challenge will be not to eat the whole pie in one sitting by yourself.

A note about the  original recipe, they recommend using 1/2 cauliflower to cover the top of your shepherd's pie, and I usually double that portion to use the whole cauliflower head.  So, I made some adjustments to herb and egg amounts here.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots or parsnips, chopped  (I used one of each)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced  (I'm lazy and used a whole container of bella sliced mushrooms which was 8oz.)
  • 1 1/4T each FRESH rosemary, sage and thyme (herbs are the flavor maker and must NOT be omitted)
  • splash + 1 C chicken stock
  • 1 T potato starch
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped and boiled in water until soft
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

Start by grabbing a medium to large pot and filling it with water.  Cut the Cauliflower into large chunks put it in the pot to boil.  It should boil until tender.  (About as long as it takes to cut your veggies.)

Next, start chopping up and setting aside your herbs.  This is the step that takes the most time, but is what gives it the most flavor, so put on a favorite mindless show or something to watch while you pick stupid little thyme leaves off and chop them up.  Set them up in two little bowls.  The one containing 3/4 of a tablespoon each of rosemary, thyme and sage is for the filling.  The one with 1 1/2 tsp each of the above is set aside for the cauliflower.

Now start chopping up your carrots, parsnips, garlic, onion, and mushrooms and set aside in a bowl.  (Pro Tip: Save time with this step by throwing veggies into a food processor.)

Worried about crying while onion cutting?  I have that problem too, but not anymore since I have these super sexy awesome onion goggles courtesy of my pal April.  (You would think they don't work but they totally do.)

By now, your cauliflower should be tender go ahead and drain and set aside to cool slightly,

Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

In a deep-sided, oven safe saute pan add the ground beef and saute on medium heat until browned.

While meat is browning, pour 1 cup of chicken stock and add 1 T of potato starch.  Pro tip: Adding your thickening agent in with your liquid to mix before adding to heat will prevent clumping.

After meat is brown, add the onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms and cook until softened. Add 1 c chicken stock and potato starch mix. Use a spatula to pick up any brown bits on the bottomof the pan. The liquid will start to thicken almost immediately.

Turn the heat off and toss in 3/4 of the chopped herbs along with some salt and pepper.  

The health-bent folks are pro "as few dishes as possible" so they would have you just use your saute pan as your pie pan.  I however am all fancy and stuff, so I then transfer my meat/veggie concoction to a pie pan.  (Pro tip: If you want to set this up for individual servings, you can place them in several ramekins.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, a splash of  chicken stock and the cooked cauliflower pieces. Use a combination of whisking and smashing to get the cauliflower as smooth as possible.  I like to use my trusty immersion blender, or you could use a ninja, or blender if you want to get stuff super smooth.   (Pro tip: If your cauliflower mix feels a touch too soup-ish, you can throw a heavy pinch of potato starch in while blending and it will thicken in the oven.) Throw in the rest of the herbs along with a nice, heavy pinch of salt.

Spoon the mixture on top of the meat and press into an even layer with your spatula.  If you're feeling fancy, make a pattern or whatever.

(Pro tip: If you're trying to prep food in advance for the week, you could probably stop here, cover and throw it in the freezer.  Then when you're ready for consumption, pull out however many ramekins you want or the whole pie to bake.)  Bake in the oven, on the middle rack at 400 degrees, for 10 minutes, then turn the oven on broil and cook for another 10 minutes. Once the “pie” has come out of the oven, let it rest a few minutes before serving.

And there you have it.  Yummy, delicious and a surprising amount of vegetables too.  Serves 4.

Nutritional Info Per Serving (Based on My Fitness Pal)

  • Calories: 324
  • Carbs: 19
  • Fat: 14
  • Protein: 30
  • Sodium: 705
  • Sugar: 5