Winter has pretty much wrapped up here in Seattle. We have crocuses, daffodils and the beginning of cherry blossoms happening all over town, the days are getting longer and asparagus is starting to pop up in the market. There is also an abundance of damp and chilly evenings, which means it is perfect weather for shepherd's pie.
Shepherd's pie is also called Cottage Pie but technically they are different: traditionally shepherd's pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. This recipe calls for a secret weapon in the form of Herbes des Provence, a mixture of dried herbs typical of the Provence region of France. The mixture is a combination of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender and you can find it in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. It also adds a nice flavor to roasted chicken and grilled vegetables.
This one is a real crowd pleaser at my house and with the mashed cauliflower 'fauxtato' crust it is Paleo and Whole30 compliant. You could certainly use traditional mashed potatoes if you prefer, but every time I make this my family can't quite get over the fact that mashed cauliflower can taste so good.
Paleo Shepherd's Pie (Whole30 compliant)
For the top layer
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons ghee
2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk (use the solid bit at the top of the can)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the bottom layer
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium/large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb (or a combo of both)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari if you are not doing a Whole30)
2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence
a dash of Tabasco or some other hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Steam the cauliflower for about 12-15 minutes (until soft) in an inch or two of water with the lid on the pot or with a steamer insert. Drain the water and put the cauliflower back in the pot. Add the ghee, coconut milk, salt and pepper and mash/blend until smooth. I use a potato masher and then smooth it out with immersion blender - but any hand blender will do. You could also do this in a food processor. Set aside.
2. While the cauliflower is cooking, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then melt the coconut oil in a large skillet and add the diced onion. Cook for 3-5 min over medium heat and then add the carrot and celery and cook another 5 min, stirring a few times. Then add the ground meat and cook until browned.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the meat mixture and simmer until much of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
4. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 casserole dish, and then spoon the mashed cauliflower on top, spreading evenly.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, and you are done!