I’m not sure why I settled on paleo a recipe for Shepherd’s pie because I generally do not care for Irish food and I’ve never made a traditional Shepherd’s pie. I’ve made what I would consider to be fun twists, like a Thanksgiving Day Shepherd’s Pie and Southwest Shepherd’s Pie but the regular variety never really gave me much of a thrill. Yet I found myself enticed by paleo Shepherd’s pie recipes.
A lot of recipes I saw called for tomato paste which I didn’t care for. They also called for sweet potatoes. While I like sweet potatoes, I didn’t think I would love the taste of sweet potatoes mixed with ground beef and veggies. So I wanted to find something different. A few recipes used a combination of sweet potato and cauliflower and what seemed like rather complicated ingredients. Like coconut milk. I couldn’t bring myself to add coconut milk to this savory dish so instead I created a cauliflower puree by steaming the cauliflower florets and pureeing them on high in my Vitamix with four tablespoons of butter, some salt and some pepper.
The cauliflower puree was heavenly. I was a bit remorseful when I began scraping out the inside of my blender thinking I should have went with all cauliflower instead of mixing it into sweet potatoes. But I really wanted that mashed potato texture which I felt you could only achieve by … mashing potatoes.
I made this recipe in stages out of pure exhaustion and because I can’t get a good picture when it’s dark out. I like the natural light. So I tried to bake this after work one evening having assembled the ground beef ingredients one day and adding the potato mixture the next.
I thought the recipe would be good. I didn’t realize the recipe would be phenomenal. This recipe is healthy comfort food at its best. You can taste a hint of sweet potatoes but I really think the cauliflower puree does a good job of tempering the flavor. My only complaint about the dish was that I thought the ratio of beef to mash was slightly off; there should have been more beef. But the mash was so delicious how can you complain?
- 1 lb. grass-fed beef
- 2 celery stalks finely minced
- 2 large carrots, finely minced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 14.5 oz can beef broth
- 1/4 c. tapioca flour
- 3 medium-sized white sweet potatoes
- 1 small/medium head of cauliflower
- 4 T. grass-fed butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cut potatoes into chunks and boil in salted water about 20 minutes until fork tender.
- Wash and cut cauliflower into florets. Steam over medium-low heat until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, sauté onion, celery and carrots in a skillet over medium-low heat about 10 minutes with a bit of olive oil or avocado oil.
- Add the ground beef, seasonings and garlic; pan fry until beef is cooked through.
- Next stir in the beef broth and tapioca starch or flour. Simmer until thick. Mine thickened immediately. Spoon meat mixture into in an oven-safe pie dish or casserole dish.
- In a high-speed blender, puree cauliflower and butter with some salt and pepper until smooth.
- In the potato saucepan (or a mixing bowl), mash cooked potatoes with the cauliflower puree. Add salt and pepper to taste or any seasonings you may like. Spread the mashed potato mixture over the beef filling.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes; the beef mixture will be bubbling up around the edges.
- If you opt to prepare this dish the day before you may need to bake a bit longer. I baked mine about 60 minutes and then I set the oven to broil for the last few minutes. Serve immediately.
Though I’m not sure I’d totally dig the regular Shepherd’s pie I dig this version. It’s relatively easy to make and yields a ton of leftovers, especially when you’re serving just yourself and your dad. You can go back for seconds and feel relatively guilt free about it. Who doesn’t love that?