Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shepherd's Pie (Potato-Less)

I'll begin by introducing you to an original strutcutter and friend, Emily.

Hello, Emily. That's her with the wonderful Gilbert at our wedding. She's one of my favorite friends and also an amazing cook. When she messaged me about a delicious meal that she made over the weekend, I couldn't wait to try it. 

The first time I had Shepherd's Pie was at our rehearsal dinner (nothing like downing 3,000 calories the night before your wedding) a couple months ago and I've been craving it ever since. I wasn't sure when I'd have the chance for such a splurge again, but let me tell you, this was even better than the original version and it's a lot healthier!

Prep Time: Approximately 30 minutes. I forgot to time out the exact prep time because I was too freaking excited to get this done...for obvious reasons.
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Here's what you need:
2 pounds of ground meat---(Em used ground beef and pork. Trader Joe's didn't have pork so I substituted with ground turkey.)
1 head of cauliflower (Em used celery root which I still want to try. Trader Joe's didn't have it but I read a few articles that said celery root is a great potato substitute so I can't wait to get my hands on some of it)
1 onion
1 bulb of fennel
5 carrots
5 scallions (optional)
1/2 cup peas (optional)
2 celery stalks (optional)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese (optional)
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
[Emily didn't use any of the optional ingredients...I just added in extra things that we like for the heck of it]

Set this aside for the celery root or cauliflower mash...
3 tablespoons milk (I used whole milk and Em used cream. I'm sure that almond milk would work too but maybe start with less since it's not as thick.)
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 tablespoon of butter

****update: I've now made this cauliflower mash several times but I've done it a little differently. I boil the cauliflower for 15 minutes, transfer to a blender and add 2 tablespoons of butter, some salt/pepper & blend. This consistency is better and thicker if you're going to have cauliflower mash as a side item but it also works great on the shepherds pie. I'm always a fan of less ingredients!

Here's what you do:
Chop onion, fennel, scallions, carrots, celery, and garlic
Separately, chop cauliflower and boil for 15 minutes
Sautee garlic and onion for 3 minutes
Add ground meat and cook until no longer pink
Add carrots, celery, fennel, scallions, and peas to the meat
Stir occasionally on low heat for 5-10 minutes

Back to cauliflower...
Drain water (the drier the cauliflower the better)
Transfer to mixing bowl
Add butter, milk, sour cream, salt, pepper
Use hand mixer or masher until it looks like "mashed potatoes"

Grease baking dish
Layer meat, cauliflower, then cheese
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes




If you're in the mood for something hearty and comforting but still healthy, you've got to try this. We ate the leftovers last night and it was even better than the first time. I'm super excited about this recipe and can't wait to have it again. I'm so glad that Emily shared this deliciousness with me and I'll be on the lookout for that celery root for next time!

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