Being of Irish/Scottish descent, the adjustment away from potatoes was a tough one! I used to make shepherd’s pie regularly every couple of weeks because it was easy and the kids loved it. When we first got rid of grains, potatoes, and sugars, I thought this was a recipe I would have to forget. Until a pregnancy induced craving prompted me to find a healthy alternative. I thought about using sweet potatoes, but then it dawned on me — cauliflower! I’d used this in place of mashed potatoes and rice before, so why not in this recipe? It was also a great way to sneak an extra vegetable in for the kids.
For those not familiar with it, shepherd’s/cottage pie is a meat and vegetable casserole with gravy, topped with mashed potato (or cauliflower), and baked in the oven. From my understanding, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef or other meat. I’ve always used the terms interchangeably. This is an easy recipe to prepare ahead of time and heat up when you are ready to eat. The leftovers taste even better than the first night (unlike the potato version… I’ve never liked the texture of reheated potatoes).
Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1½ tsp salt (divided)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 heads cauliflower (or 3 bags frozen cauliflower)
- 4 TBSP butter
- 4 oz cream cheese (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, optional)
- In a large skillet, cook the meat and onion until the meat is browned and cooked through.
- Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the remaining spices and set aside.
- Pour the frozen mixed veggies into the skillet and heat over low heat until warmed, removing from heat when done.
- While the vegetables are heating, bring several cups of water in a large pot to a boil.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and add it to the boiling water.
- Cover and cook until soft enough to mash.
- Remove the pot from the heat, drain the cauliflower, and add the butter, cream cheese, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Mash the cauliflower mixture with a hand blender to make it really smooth.
- Return the browned meat and onions back to the skillet with the mixed veggies and mix in the egg.
- Pour the meat/vegetable mixture into the bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
- Spread the mashed cauliflower mixture over the top.
- Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes.
- If using shredded cheese, sprinkle it over the top and bake 5 additional minutes until cheese is melted (optional).
Now I just have to figure out a recipe for a good stout homebrew and I’ll be one happy Irish lass!
Ever made shepherds pie? How did it go?