There have been a ton of Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie recipes making an appearance in the Paleo blogosphere lately. They all look so tasty and like a wonderful, warm comforting food…today it was snowing in Colorado so I thought it would be the perfect day to try to make one. Elana’s Pantry posted this recipe for Paleo Shepherd’s Pie recently using cauliflower mash for the topping and a few months back Jan’s Sushi Bar posted this Sweet and Spicy Cottage Pie using mashed vanilla sweet potatoes on top. Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed Cookbook has a fabulous recipe with many variations for Shepherd’s Pie using the traditional ground lamb as well as recipe on her blog for Cottage-Flower Pie. My version pulls things from all three recipes and I will have to say it was FABULOUS! This was the first Cottage Pie I have ever made and it sure will not be my last! I was pleased with the photos of the Cottage Pie before it went in the oven and with the ones of it dished out in my bowl…the one of the final product after it was baked is not the best simply because I think I used too small of a casserole dish so the filling bubbled up over the sides of the cauliflower mash (and made a huge mess in the oven!)…now in my defense, I’ve never made this dish before so this could very well be a normal occurrence! I am calling this “Spicy” simply because it is just that, SPICY…I like it that way but if you prefer a milder flavor I would omit half of the black pepper and all of the red pepper flakes.
Spicy Bacon & Beef Cottage Pie (Serves 4)
1/2 pound nitrate/nitrite free bacon, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound ground organic grass-fed beef
2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 recipe Mashed Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet heat butter or oil over medium-high heat, saute onion until soft. Add chopped bacon to the pan and saute until cooked, add carrots, celery and garlic and saute in the bacon fat until soft. Add the ground beef to the pan with the bacon and vegetables and saute until browned. Season the meat and vegetable mixture with the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. Stir in the tomato sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Add the chopped kale and cook until the greens are wilted. Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to a casserole dish (the one I used was a 1.7L Pyrex…I’d go a bit bigger!). Carefully spread the cauliflower mash (recipe follows) evenly over the top of the meat mixture. Using the tines of a fork, lightly create some texture on top – the peaks and valleys make nice brown spots in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the top begins to brown (I would have browned mine more but it was splattering all over the oven!). Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp. heavy cream or coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
Place ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
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