Think about the best meal you’ve ever eaten. Soo good, right?
Now, think about that meal being trumped by an amazing dish you didn’t know existed. For me – that experience happened with this shepherd’s pie.
Shepherd’s pie and I have no previous history. Growing up vegetarian and remaining so throughout college left me uncultured in the gloriousness of flavors that accompany traditional multi-meat dishes like the pie of shepherds. In fact, I had no clue what it was until spotting a photo of a shepherd’s pie dish on Instagram about a year ago. Bacon, ground meat, and potatoes… and more bacon?
It was love at first sight.
Thanks to social media, I’ve successfully found my “last meal before you die” dish. It also makes a great “make your husband (or wife) happy” dish when, ahem… you’d like a little favor in your own direction.
Please note, this is my personal whole foods approach to making Paleo Shepherd’s Pie. This is not, by any means, a recipe that’s been passed down for centuries and has traditional ingredients. It’s just real, good, food.
Since this dish is cooked on the stove top and finished in the oven, you’ll need to use an oven-safe cooking pan like a cast iron skillet. For this recipe, I use my 10-inch cast iron skillet which is the appropriate size for the ingredients below. If you’re using a smaller or larger pan, simply adjust the vegetables and beef accordingly.
This shepherd’s pie recipe uses a special kind of sweet potato known as Japanese sweet potatoes for the topping. Because these sweet potatoes are more starchy, they give the pie a creamy texture that meshes incredibly well with the contents of the pie. Learn about Japanese sweet potatoes here.
1.5 lbs ground lamb or beef (from grass-fed, local animals if possible)
1.5 – 2 cups whipped Japanese sweet potatoes
4 pieces bacon (pasture-raised and local if possible)
5-7 celery sticks, chopped
5-7 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup bone broth
2.5 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp each of sea salt, pepper, garlic, paprika
Dice bacon and cook in skillet. Once fat is rendered, remove bacon and throw all of the chopped vegetables into the skillet with a little salt and pepper and cook down. Once vegetables are cooked, add the ground meat and the rest of the seasoning to the skillet and mix well. Once meat is browned, add the bone broth and tomato paste. Be sure to lightly stir the tomato paste into the mixture. Cook until liquid has reduced slightly (about 5-7 minutes) and then remove from heat.
Stir about three-fourths of the cooked bacon into the whipped Japanese sweet potatoes, and spread the potatoes on top of the mixture in the skillet. Because the mixture in the skillet is liquid, it’s easiest to spread the potatoes in small batches with a stainless steel spoon or spatula. Garnish the additional bacon on top of the pie. Place skillet in the oven and cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Have it Your Way
Short on time? Nix the bacon and cook vegetables in coconut oil instead. Don’t have all the ingredients on hand? Sub in different vegetables, or use a different variety of potatoes.
Questions about how to making this shepherd’s pie recipe? Don’t hesitate to ask below!
Keepin’ it human,