Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
by: Kamille Scellick | Redeeming the Table
A couple years back, as the cold fronts began emerging & the nights grew dark long before supper time, we sat to enjoy a meal with friends. Reflections of ourselves in the window, sitting around the table, as Melissa brought a piping hot casserole to the table. I was dismayed to see the casserole, because honestly...I didn’t want some weird casserole on a cold Autumn night.
“It’s shepherd’s pie!,” Melissa announced.“Shepherd’s what?,” I thought to myself.
Up to that point, I had never tasted Shepherd’s Pie; let alone know that it would more than satisfy. I became a fan of this man’s man meal of meat & potatoes. Years would pass, and I would venture upon this culinary ground only once; until a night similar to that first would present itself with whispers of “shepherd’s pie.” Oh yes! I could taste the savory veggies simmered in a gravy a top ground beef. Except, I wanted to make some changes, in order to make it Whole30 approved for Ben. Traditionally, it’s topped with white potatoes, but I envisioned a medley of puree turnips, parsnips & carrots. This simple dish is truly something to be thankful for as we count our many gifts this month. What’s for dinner folks? “It’s Shepherd’s Pie!”
I absolutely loved this concoction of shepherd’s pie replacing traditional white potatoes with other root veggies. The turnips have a spicy radish/horseradish flavor to it, while parsnips are sweet. The one carrot gives color to this rather bland looking dish.
- 1 Tb coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice cut
- 3 celery stalks, small dice cut
- 4 carrots, small dice cut
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¾ tsp fresh thyme, minced
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 4 Tb arrowroot powder
- 1 carrot, peeled & cut into thirds (remove ends)
- 3 turnips, peeled, ends cut off & cut into cubes
- 5-6 parsnips, peeled & cut into thirds (remove ends)
- Salt to taste
- Fill up an 8 quart pan with water to boil turnips, parsnips & one carrot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the turnips, parsnips & carrot and boil for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Put a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add 1 - 2 Tb coconut oil to pan. Put the small diced onion, celery & carrot (we call this mixture a ‘mirepoix’) into the pan & cook till onions are translucent, which takes about 7 minutes. Transfer the mirepoix to a bowl & set aside.
Using the same pan you used for the mirepoix, turn the heat to medium & add the ground beef, 2 tsp of sea salt & 1 tsp of ground pepper. Stir to thoroughly distribute the S&P and until the meat is cooked through. Once the meat is completely cooked, drain the meat from the fat & transfer the meat to a bowl. Drain the remaining fat into a heat-proof container or can to discard.
Return the mirepoix back to the same pan (it’s totally okay if it has some fat coating from the beef) over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic, chicken broth, thyme & rosemary to the mirepoix. Allow for the liquid to heat up for a minute or two. Add 1 to 1 ½ tsp of sea salt. Stir to mix. Add the arrowroot powder, one tablespoon at a time & mixing after each tablespoon, in order to thoroughly dissolve. This should thicken the liquid to more gravy form, but not completely thick. Taste & season with additional salt & pepper. Remove pan from heat.
Using a large casserole dish (or a 9x13 pan), pour all the cooked ground beef inside by evenly spreading it out. Next, evenly spread the veggie/gravy mixture.
Your turnips, parsnips & carrot should be thoroughly soft. Each should be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the water & add 1-2 Tb of coconut oil & 2 Tb of water. Puree the mixture using either an immersion blender or a food processor (a blender can work as well). I used an immersion blender, and didn’t need to use that much liquid to puree it. If using a food processor or blender, then you may need to increase your liquid. You could also replace chicken broth for the water.
Add salt to taste. Now for the fancy or not so fancy part. I used a pastry bag with a star-tip attachment to give dinner a 4-star appeal. However, that was simply me being fancy for fancy sake, not needed. You can simply take the puree and spread it evenly on top of the veggies, ensuring you cover all the veggies. Bake for 20-25 minutes & serve hot.