Friday, March 11, 2016

Shepherd's Pie, It's What's for Dinner

It has been raining for the past few days here in North Texas and my Mom is here for a weekend visit.  Sounds like the perfect time to cook up a nice Shepherd's Pie, Paleo style.

I am a big fan of Melissa Joulwan and her "Well Fed" cookbooks.  Like any good cookbook, hers are full of a lot more than just recipes.  If you are at all interested in cooking Paleo or Primal meals, the Well Fed cookbooks are a great place to start.

The main difference between a Paleo Shepherd's Pie and a traditional one is the topping.  Instead of using potatoes, the topping is made using a cauliflower puree.  The cauliflower makes for a lighter, lower carb, more nutrient dense topping for the pie.  And it is very tasty.

A shepherd's pie is built in two steps, the meat filling and the topping.  A traditional shepherd's pie uses lamb, and that is what I prefer, but the store only had 1 lb of ground lamb.  So tonight I used a pound of lamb and a pound of ground beef.  The recipe in the book calls for dried herbs, but I have fresh in the garden so used my herbs instead of the dried.

Shepherd's Pie

For the topping:

1 16 oz bag frozen cauliflower
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 TBSP or so chives, plus more for garnish
Salt/pepper to taste

For the filling:

1 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 cup homemade chicken bone broth (beef also works, just had chicken on hand)
1 tsp coconut aminos
Fresh thyme - I used a tsp or so
Fresh rosemary - I used a couple of tsp's
Fresh oregano - not in the book, but I like adding it to lamb.  A tsp
3 egg whites
Salt/pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat large skillet over med-high heat until nice and hot.

Add coconut oil, and when melted add onions and carrots.  Stir to coat with oil, reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover pan and cook for 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are soft, but not yet brown.

Add garlic and stir for one minute, then add ground lamb/beef and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Turn the heat back up to med-high and add the tomato paste, broth, coconut aminos and herbs.  Cook until most of the water has evaporated, 10 minutes or so.  Taste again for seasoning.

Set pan aside and allow to cool while prepping the topping.

Cook the cauliflower according to the instructions on the package, please don't overcook.

While cooking the cauliflower, warm the garlic, coconut oil and coconut milk in a small sauce pan. Season to taste.

Puree the cauliflower in a food processor, or whip as you would potatoes, whichever is easier for you.
Add the coconut milk mixture and pulse to combine.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper as necessary.

Add chives and pulse one more time.

Now, whip you three egg whites until frothy and fold into the meat mixture.

Spread the meat mixture into a 12 x 6 baking dish and top with the cauliflower topping.  Use a rubber spatula to spread the topping, it just makes it easier.

Once you get the topping spread, use a fork to create a cross hatch pattern on the topping.  This makes for tasty crispy parts.

Dust with paprika if you wish.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  You can tell when it is done because you will have nice brown crispy bits and the filling will be bubbling around the edges of the topping.

Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes or so, then enjoy!

Now, these pictures are not the best.  If I'm going to be posting foodie pictures, I need to work on this.

The prepped vegetables

And the herbs.

Prepping the dish

The completed shepherd's pie

 We started dinner with a nice chopped salad and I served roasted beets and fresh berries with the main dish.

This makes 4 to 6 servings.  If you serve 4 servings, MyFitnessPal generates the following nutritional information:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 812
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 54 g84 %
Saturated Fat 29 g143 %
Monounsaturated Fat 12 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 154 mg51 %
Sodium 499 mg21 %
Potassium 1211 mg35 %
Total Carbohydrate 17 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g22 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 65 g130 %
Vitamin A105 %
Vitamin C99 %
Calcium11 %
Iron32 %
 A very tasty dish that makes plenty for leftovers.  This is a go-to dish that I know people will enjoy.  It's also easy to play with and personalize with your unique touch. If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think.

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