Happy Halloween! I have always loved Halloween. Dressing up (my grandma always made us the best costumes- whatever we wanted to be, she made it happen!), running around the neighborhood for candy with my cousins, and assessing our bags of loot at the end of the night. Nowadays, my Halloweens are a little more tame, and a lot less candy-laden. But it’s still fun to see all the kidlets running around in their costumes! This year, we’re staying in. Handing out treats and I’m dressing up (because why not?!) there may even be an orange-hued adult beverage involved. The joys of being a grown-up. But enough about my love of everything All Hallow’s Eve, you should make this Shepard’s Pie for your family tonight.
I think a great way to deter your kids from gorging on artificially-flavored, highly sweetened
crap candy is to fill them up with something hearty and healthy before you send them out trick-or-treating. Of course, I don’t have any kids of my own yet so I can’t comment on how difficult it may be to move them away from the excitement of sugar-rush-2012 but I also think sweets are sweets, and starting with a hearty meal and having healthy sweets when they get back (maybe some naturally orange pumpkin muffins?) might just deter them, if only a little bit.
Let me premise this recipe by saying I HATE Shepard’s pie. My mom used to make it when I was a kid, and I detested it. I’ve never been a big ground beef pan (until I learned how to season it), and I detest mashed potatoes, or any non-fried potato products in general (that’s right, I really love french fries. that’s about it.) so you can imagine my excitement when Shepard’s pie was on the menu for dinner. But this Shepard’s pie, this one I love. It’s completely potato-free, and thus a lot more nutrient-dense, and the ground beef is full of flavor- making it much more palatable and especially delicious when mixed with heaps of vegetables and a nice layer of mashed cauliflower.
Shepard’s Pie (without the potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup frozen organic corn
1/2 cup frozen organic peas
Mashed cauliflower layer:
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets and steamed until soft
1 clove garlic, steamed with cauliflower
1 tbsp butter
2-4 tbsp whole organic milk or cream
pinch sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown beef until no longer pink. Remove and set aside.
2. Add onions to beef cooking pan, and sautee until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add carrots and celery, and cook until tender.
3. Add beef to pan. Stir in seasonings and worcestershire sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add corn and peas, and cook until warmed through (no longer frozen). Season to taste. Spread beef mix on the bottom of an 8-or-9” casserole dish.
5. Add steamed cauliflower and garlic to vita-mix (or mash by hand) with 2 tbsp milk/cream, and butter. Puree or mash to desired consistency, adding more liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Spread on top of beef mixture and top with shaved parmesan (if using). Bake in oven, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. If desired, broil for 2-4 minutes to brown top. Serve hot.
It may not look too pretty when it’s all served up, but man, is it delicious!
Have a happy, safe Halloween!!