We’ve been making kid-friendly, veggie-loaded, Paleo-approved Shepherd’s Pie for years. In fact, our original Shepherd’s Pie recipe (complete with lamb and organ meat) is in our first book, Eat Like a Dinosaur. It’s been a family favorite for years!
On our recent trip to California (which we’ll be sharing about more in blog posts this week!), we ate dinner in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at a the famous restaurant, Three Broomsticks. There so many wonderful Hogwarts’-inspired dishes there, not the least of which is our family favorite – warm butter beer. We’ve got a cold version recreation [Better Butter Beer], but I think it might be time to try our hand at warm soon!
Anyway, we have to justify our daily warm butter beer by eating food too – and during a particularly rainy and cold day Stacy was all excited to try the Shepherd’s Pie on their menu. Sadly, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t gluten-free. It then became the thing she talked about craving until we came home. As is often the case in our kitchen, necessity was the mother of invention. Upon returning home, Matt made a new version, which seemed similar to that of what we’d seen in the restaurant, of only food we could find in our fridge and pantry. It became an amazing dish (Stacy even bragged about leftovers on Instagram) that will be a new family favorite hence forth!
While the Wizarding World may refer to this as “Shepard’s Pie” we noted that it’s made with ground beef, thus technically a “Cottage Pie.” The best part though? The most lusciously aerated thick whipped potatoes on top. We lucked into this genius, due to the limitations of ingredients in our kitchen. The half-potato, half-cauliflower mash solves the problem of only using one: the potato alone is too dense and often dry, just cauli-mash is thin and often watery. By blending the two you get fluff without the density and the perfect moisture to “lock” in the flavors of the ingredients beneath. And I’m willing to bet that most people wouldn’t even be able to tell there is cauliflower in there, Stacy couldn’t tell at all; it is sooo good!
Photos by the awesome Wholefed Homestead
You’ll find our recipes also has a couple of non-traditional ingredients in it, which were a total home-run! You must try to replace celery with the broccoli and mushrooms. Not only do the extra veggies add more nutrients, the flavor adds umami to the beef below in a “I can’t stop eating this don’t mind me while I lick my plate” sort of way.
Have an InstantPot? Use the "sautee" function for the diced veggies and the steamer basket for the potatoes and cauliflower! We recommend baking the overall dish, however, to get the delicious caramelized browning on the mash!
- 2 lb ground beef, 80-85% fat recommended, grass-fed preferred
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper, white preferred
- 1 head cauliflower, stems removed and chopped
- 8 small yellow potatoes, peeled
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper, white preferred
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil, lard or cooking fat of choice
- 1 C onion, diced
- 1 C carrot, diced
- 1 C mushrooms, diced
- 1 C broccoli, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Mix meat with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Sautee meat over medium heat (breaking put pieces as it cooks) until mostly cooked through (keep meat pink, or it will over-cook in the baking process). We recommend using a large cooking vessel that is deep and can be baked, otherwise transfer to a casserole dish after cooked.
- Draining most of the moisture that accumulates and transfer meet to a baking dish (if needed). Set aside.
- While meat is cooking, steam or boil cauliflower and potatoes until fork tender your preferred way, we recommend using the steamer basket of an InstantPot or a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water (about 10 min).
- While waiting, saute onions, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, and garlic in oil/fat over medium heat until softened.
- Spread vegetables over cooked meat.
- Purée cauliflower and potatoes with food processor or masher to your preferred consistency.
- Spread mashed mixture evenly over meat and vegetables.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.