Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

Food ideas come to me innocently enough – almost akin to the premise of Inception, the mind-boggling blockbuster featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page.  It all starts with a craving… and just like how the characters of the film plant ideas into another man’s head, “once [a craving] has taken hold of the brain, it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”  It may be how to make peppermint mochas paleo-friendly, or how to go about satisfying my yearning for mashed potatoes, but boy… once I begin thinking about it, my mind won’t stop racing until I at least experiment with the ideas in the kitchen.  This recipe for a “paleofied” version of a classic comfort food is the direct brainchild of said Foodie Inception.  Enjoy!

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients:

  • One head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb ground meat of choice (I used free-range lean ground turkey)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of beef or chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp fat (bacon grease, coconut oil, ghee, etc)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley or 2 tbsp of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: nutritional yeast for “cheesy” topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Set aside a casserole (2 quart) dish, using 2 tbsp of fat to grease the pan until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot, use a steamer basket to steam cauliflower or boil  until fork tender.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of fat.  Add carrots, onions, celery, garlic and peas and sauté until tender – about five minutes.
  4. Add ground meat of choice to the skillet and cook thoroughly.  Once meat is browned, add beef/chicken broth, tomato paste, dried/fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Add more broth if necessary to keep the mixture moistened.
  5. Let meat mixture simmer on low heat while you work on the mashed cauliflower topping.  Once the florets are fork tender, transfer them to a food processor.  Food process the cauliflower along with 1 tbsp of butter until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Turn off the heat from the meat mixture and transfer to the greased casserole dish, layering it evenly on the bottom.  Add dollops of cauliflower mash, then spread evenly until all of the meat mixture is covered.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  7. When 30 minutes is up, you can choose to sprinkle nutritional yeast on top for a “cheesy” flavor.  But either way, set the oven on broil for approximately 5 minutes to give the cauliflower mash a nice browned crust.
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