Shepherd’s pie was always a popular meal in our extended family, and while many refer to it as Cottage pie, there is a difference between the two. Shepherd’s Pie which has it’s origins with the English and Irish, is a combination of minced lamb with vegetables and mashed potatoes, while minced beef makes a Cottage pie
I always enjoyed my youngest maternal aunts’ version and making it with various vegetable combinations, it never tasted anyway near as good as hers. Therefore it wasn’t a meal I made often, pre-Paleo days. The seasoning in my versions were always too bland for my taste I guess. I often add chilli flakes, cayenne pepper and paprika to provide a subtle hint of spice.
In making this low-carb Paleo version, it was similar in the choice of ingredients and seasoning and pretty much Shepherd’s Pie tasting, except that this version uses mashed and seasoned cauliflower, flavoured with ghee, which also browns the topping when baked, to replace the mashed potato topping. This is a fabulously healthier comfort food option with the change of season approaching, and one that is free of dairy, gluten, grains and sugar.
For a Vegan version, omit the minced lamb, add veggies of your choice to the sauteeing garlic and onions, season as desired, and a delectable veggie option is created.
500g minced lamb
1 small onion, chopped
150g mushrooms, coarsely chopped or sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, ground
¼ cup chicken, lamb or vegetable stock, homemade, preservatives and sugar free
Freshly ground Himalayan or Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried origanum
1 tsp dried rosemary
1-2 heads cauliflower, steamed until very soft and mashed using this recipe for cauliflower mash, without the stock
1-2 tsp. olive oil or ghee
Ghee or oil of choice for sauteeing the vegetables and for the cauliflower mash.
- Using a medium pan or pot, heat the olive oil or ghee, add in the minced lamb, salt, pepper, thyme, origanum, and rosemary and cook until the mince has browned – this takes about 15 minutes. Keep aside.
- In a separate pan or pot, melt the ghee or oil of choice over medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic, saute till the onions are soft and translucent, then add in the mushrooms, carrots, celery and cook until the vegetables have softened.
- Combine the minced lamb with the vegetables and add the mix a small to medium-sized rectangular or square oven-proof dish.
- Pour the stock evenly over the meat and vegetable mixture to keep the baking Shepherd’s Pie moist while baking.
- Preheat the oven to 180º celcius.
- In a food processor, puree the cauliflower with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, and salt and pepper. Puree until the cauliflower mash is consistently smooth throughout. You may make the cauliflower mash using this Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe, flavouring with 2 teaspoons of ghee, and omitting the stock when pureeing.
- Spread the mashed cauliflower over the meat and vegetable base. You may run a fork over the cauliflower mash, creating a design.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve hot with a side salad, as preferred