Back in July, my friend Jenny came home from a work function where she had run into a co-worker that she hadn’t seen in a while. The co-worker had lost weight and Jenny asked her how she had done it. The co-worker referred Jenny to the website Mark’s Daily Apple.
Jenny told me and a few other girlfriends about the site. I immediately checked it out and liked what I found. The idea is to live “primally”, emulating our long ago ancestors through diet and exercise.
I got serious about primal eating at the beginning of August when I got back from Sayulita, Mexico. I cut out all grains, most starches and legumes, and as much sugar as I could. I noticed a dramatic effect in my feelings of satiety, energy and well being. I simply felt content. And I wasn’t so bloated.
I am still eating a primal diet consisting of lots of organic greens and vegetables, grass fed meats from local producers and berries for my fruit. I cook with bacon fat, coconut oil and a little bit of olive oil.
In transitioning to this lifestyle, I have had great adventures in learning to cook differently so that I am not consuming the grains and starches that I was habitually consuming through breads, crackers, potatoes and beans.
One such recipe is shepherd’s pie. It’s a dish that I tend to make every fall when there is a bounty of game meat that I receive from hunting friends. That and the amazing fall harvest produce that is available at the farmer’s market and from my garden.
The top of the shepherd’s pie is generally made with potatoes and the “gravy” for the filling made with flour. Well, that needed to be changed. This recipe is based loosely on one that was posted on Mark’s Daily Apple by Cherie Randall. You may notice that the topping is very similar to my cauliflower parsnip gratin in my post “What’s for Dinner? 11/8/2009”. It is Cherie’s post that got me rolling on the gratin creation. Thanks Cherie!
SHALON’S ROOT VEGETABLE SHEPHERD’S PIE
Serves 6 – 8
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-3 tablespoons cream (optional)
- salt & pepper taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided into 1 tbsp each
- 1 beet, peeled and cubed into ¼ “ cubes
- 2-3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
- 2-3 carrots, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground grass-fed beef, bison, goat, antelope, etc.
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- 3/4 cup beef, veggie or chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Break the cauliflower into chunky pieces and steam until just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes.
While cauliflower is steaming, heat butter in small saucepan over medium low heat. Add garlic to the butter and keep on low heat, infusing the butter with the garlic flavor. Don’t get the butter too hot or it will burn the garlic. Let the garlic and butter mixture sit on low heat for approx 4-5 minutes, swirling the mixture on occasion.
Put the cauliflower in the food processor with the garlic butter and grated parmesan and process until smooth. At this point, you may want to add cream to give it a smoother consistency. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add beet cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Cook beets, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and just fork tender. Place beets into a medium bowl and return pan to heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and add the parsnips and carrots. Toss to coat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and just fork tender. Add to the beets. (It’ll take about 15 minutes to cook each the beets and the carrots/parsnips. Don’t turn the heat up too high otherwise you’ll brown the veggies before they are done on the inside.) (Don’t over cook the veggies either, you want them just fork tender because they’ll continue cooking in the pie mixture as well and “finish”).
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté several minutes until soft. Add beef and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to break up the meat so it browns evenly. Add beet/parsnip/carrot mixture and cook another five minutes.
Stir in the almond flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet and put into a medium glass or metal casserole dish. Spread the cauliflower over the top.
Scatter 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces on top of the cauliflower. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is browned in places and pie mixture is steaming hot.