Shepherd’s Pie may seem like a boring old classic, but, I guarantee this recipe packs quite the punch in flavor. It’s got red wine, for goodness sakes! That automatically takes it up a few notches on the classy/fancy scale, and means it’s probablymostlikelydefinitely delicious!
This dish is incredibly easy to make, and makes for quite a pretty presentation, too. I have no doubt adult & children alike would love this. I think it makes for a pretty wonderful potluck/party dish, too, or a great comfort meal if you’re having guests over for dinner. I’m all for making casual comfort food elegant and cool again, because honestly, who wouldn’t like their beef & vegetables topped with a lightly golden-browned mashed potato crust!
I don’t know about you, but, homey comfort foods are my favorite. James and I always said we’d serve “good food” at our wedding – and by good food we mean cheap & delicious comfort food. (hello, GF mac & cheese, collard greens, and cornbread…) I would even serve meatloaf at my wedding or a dinner party if I could, which is probably a huge hostess faux-pas. (Ya know, if I actually had dinner parties and an impending wedding on the horizon.) When you know the dish tastes great, why be ashamed of it?! I say, share these cheap & delicious comfort-meals with the WORLD!
Now, on to the recipe; optional partygoers (aka iffy ingredients) would be Peas and Potatoes. I have no problem eating peas – I welcome the pop of color & sweetness! – but, free to leave them out of this recipe if you’re anti-pea. No biggie. For the cauliflower/potato mash topping, feel free to use whatever you like – 100% mashed cauliflower, 100% mashed potatoes, or a combination of both: 50/50, 60/40, 80/20 – whatever ratio you prefer! I prefer to use a mixture of cauliflower mash + mashed potatoes. I typically steam one full head of cauliflower florets and mash it with 1-2 boiled potatoes. The 1-2 potatoes give you all the potato taste & texture you crave, while still reaping the health benefits of a whole head of cauliflower.
Finally, you can make & bake this directly IN a 10-inch iron skillet, like me, or you can make the beef filling separately before spreading it into a lightly greased, oven-proof 9×13 glass baking dish. Either way is fine! Hope you all ENJOY!
- 1-1/2 tbsp oil/fat of choice (olive/avocado oil, ghee, bacon fat, tallow - I used 1 T Kasandrinos olive oil + ½ T butter)
- 1 lb. ground beef - or turkey/lamb
- 3 cups cauliflower/potato mash, seasoned & whipped, ready to eat (I use 1 head of steamed cauliflower + 2 boiled potatoes)
- 1 heaping cup diced onion (about ½ large onion)
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2-4 carrots)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup sliced baby portobello OR button mushrooms (about 5-6)
- ⅔ cup frozen peas (opt.)
- 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- ¾ cup beef broth
- ⅓ cup red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (I use this gluten-free, organic brand)
- 1 tsp honey (opt.)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400. Melt oil in iron skillet over medium to med-high heat.
- Sauté carrots for 3 mins with a pinch of salt. Add onions/celery + another pinch of salt, and sauté another 5-7 mins until translucent.
- Add ground beef/turkey and thoroughly mix to break up meat and incorporate veggies throughout.
- Add remaining ingredients - beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, worcestershire, honey (if using), herbs, garlic, mushrooms, peas (is using), and freshly cracked black pepper, stirring to coat meat. Be sure to fully dissolve dollops of tomato paste.
- Once fully incorporated, push meat & veggie mixture to outer edges of skillet & cook until liquid pooled in center has reduced to almost nothing.
- Remove skillet from heat and add salt & pepper as needed - this will be the last chance you get to season the filling, so, do NOT be afraid to season your food!
- Use a spatula to spread cauli/potato mash on top. Evenly spread all the way to the edges of the skillet and use your spatula or fork to create a swirled pattern on top of the mash.
- Place skillet in oven and bake for 20-25 mins. (I did 20 mins & turned the broiler on for the last 2 mins to get that nice golden-brown "crust.")