Paleo Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
As winter afternoons settle into early evening, pots bubbling on a hot stove seems meditative and comforting. While there are many times when I default to a quick-prep meal, I enjoy making more complex dishes during the colder months.
Since I work from home, I’ve found the transition into dinner as an important delineation between my home as a work space and my home as home. When it is time to make dinner, I close my laptop, set aside my phone, turn on music, and begin orchestrating pots and pans. For me, this recipe epitomizes the slower winter ritual of dinner preparation.
About the ingredients
Cauliflower and parsnips – I’ve tried many variations on paleo Shepherd’s Pie toppings. The traditional recipe uses white potatoes, but paleo recipes often call for either a sweet potato topping or a cauliflower topping. I find that the sweetness of sweet potatoes can overpower the savory filling, and the cauliflower mash can lack starchiness. I believe I’ve found the perfect balance in this topping, blending cauliflower with parsnips. The parsnips add a beautiful sweetness, creaminess, and depth of flavor.
Ghee – The buttery flavor of ghee creates a silky, rich topping. Ghee is my all-time favorite fat for both health benefits and flavor. I recently shared 10 reasons to eat ghee daily. Ghee is lactose and casein free, so it is usually well tolerated by those who do not usually tolerate dairy.
Arrowroot flour – Arrowroot starch/flour is a grain free flour that thickens the filling. You can substitute tapioca flour. If you are on a starch-free diet such as the GAPS Diet, you can try substituting coconut flour or simply omitting it, but the filling will not be as creamy.
You may have noticed that this recipe lacks pictures of the untouched shepherd’s pie. As I pulled the finished dish from the oven, it was so tempting that my friend and I devoured half of it before I paused for pictures.
- 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets (16 ounces florets)
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (8 oz cut parsnips)
- 3 Tbs. ghee
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. ground grassfed beef or lamb
- 2 Tbs. ghee, get a free jar from Thrive here
- 2 medium or 3 small carrots, sliced
- 2 medium or 3 small celery stalks, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup broth of choice
- 2 tsp. arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp. freshly chopped herbs such as thyme and rosemary OR ½ tsp. herbes de provence
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400. Steam or boil the cauliflower florets along with the parsnip pieces until tender. Steaming takes about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, brown the ground meat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan - I used a dutch oven. When browned, place it, along with the drippings, in a 9x9 casserole dish.
- In the same pan, melt the 2 Tbs. ghee. Add the carrots, celery and onion along with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the vinegar and turn off the heat.
- Whisk together the broth and arrowroot flour, Whisk this into the vegetables, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the herbs. Add it to the casserole dish with the meat and stir to combine.
- To finish the topping, puree the cauliflower/parsnips with the 3 Tbs. ghee and salt + pepper. Spread the topping on the filling.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.