Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shepherd's Pie!

Growing up my awesome mother made shepherd's pie with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, which could only be topped by a layer of melted cheese. It. Was. Good. However, now I realize that white 'taters and cheese are "no bueno". Hence, I had to come up with a Paleo version I could enjoy! And lo and behold, it is good too!!

Layer One:
2 lbs ground beef
2/3 can of tomato paste (those tiny cans you can barely get your spoon into)
1 onion, chopped small
2 whole carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 T olive oil
sea salt and peppah

Layer Two:
1 bunch of kale

Layer Three:
1 head of cauliflower
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start with the cauliflower and chop into small pieces. With this you don't need to worry about keeping it in "florets" since you'll be mashing it anyways. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook a few minutes until the onion begins to get transluscent, then add the cauliflower. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Check after 10 minutes and if the onions are beginning to burn, add a splash of water and continue to cook another 3-4 minutes or until nice and soft. Rudely mash.

While the cauliflower is cooking, take the kale and remove the thick, woody stems from the middle. They are edible for sure, but in this recipe I just like to remove them to keep everything uniform. Then chop the kale into thin strips, and chop the opposite direction to chop into small pieces. Steam the kale in a saucepan over medium heat for 12 minutes or until soft. Drain the kale and set aside.

While the kale is cooking...heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saute pan. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add in the ground beef and carrot, cooking until the beef is no longer pink. Then add the tomato paste, bay leaves, basil, salt and peppah. Cook 2-3 minutes longer to heat the sauce.

Then in an 8x8 baking pan, layer the meat first (you could take out the bay leaves at this point or leave them in for a potent surprise treat!), top with the chopped kale, then top with the cauliflower mash. Cook in the oven in the top rack for about 10 minutes just to heat everything up and make the top look nice and browned. Shepherd's Pie!

**You could also add some smoked paprika to the meat mixture for an added bonus! And admittedly, this dish does not serve up very pretty. The layers tend to fall apart when you serve it (or maybe that's just me?), but it's darn tasty!

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