Paleo Shepherd’s Pie, Take Three


The third time’s a charm on Shepherd’s Pie. I looked over several Paleo and low-carb shepherd’s pie recipes to come up with this. I originally tried a Shepherd’s pie recipe from The Primal Blueprint Reader Created Cookbook. It was very good, but Jewel doesn’t like green beans or green peas. So then I tried Robb Wolf’s recipe, sort-of, but I had trouble following directions, and while the bones look really cool sticking out of the dish, I found bone marrow slimy and disgusting, and I didn’t like transferring the ingredients to another dish. So I tried to combine the best aspects of these recipes and add my own food knowledge to develop this recipe. A chef’s secret for fabulous mashed potatoes is to use chicken fat, garlic and plenty of butter. Since the topping for traditional Shepherd’s pie calls for potatoes, I wanted my cauliflower topping to be more reminiscent of mashed potatoes. Browning the meat separately gave the dish a fuller flavor. I can’t take credit for that one – it was Mom’s idea.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
Butter and/or chicken fat, about 2T total
Sea salt to taste
4 slices bacon
2T bacon fat (if using leftover bacon)
1 small onion, minced
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
10oz pkg butternut squash
3/4C beef stock (pot roast stock, or other flavorful homemade stock)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 T fresh rosemary
1T fresh oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place chicken fat and/or butter on a roasting and place in the oven while it is preheating. I had a combination of these fats leftover from the drippings from roasting a chicken. When the fat is melted, place the cauliflower florets on the roasting pan and toss to coat in fat.

Roast cauliflower on 425 until done, turning frequently, about 35 min. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350.

If you don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, fry some up now. Remove bacon from pan to drain but leave bacon grease in pan. Otherwise start with 2T bacon fat, heat dutch oven over medium-low, and add onions to hot fat. Sauté until golden.

Add ground beef. Sauté until meat is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The onions will absorb into the meat an pass undetected. I mention that just in case this is an issue in anyone else’s family.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon.

Sauté vegetables in Dutch oven until tender, about 10 minutes.

I like the Stahlbush brand of frozen fruits and vegetables. However if butternut squash is in season you could certainly use fresh.

Add the meat back into the pan.

Pour stock into pan and stir until it is mostly absorbed.

Purée cauliflower and garlic in food processor.

Spread cauliflower evenly over the top of the filling.

Bake for 20 minutes.

I served this with steamed kale. This is the most flavorful way I have found to make a Paleo-friendly Shepherd’s pie. Cooking the meat and the vegetables separately allows the meat to retain more texture and flavor. A hearty stock makes a difference here as well. I preferred the roasted cauliflower hands down to the bitterness of steamed cauliflower. This recipe is a great way to stretch a pound of meat to feed 8 people instead of 4 for those on a budget. You can substitute other vegetables that are in season or that your family likes for the ones that I chose in the filling.