Paleo Shepherd's Pie

The idea to make a Fat Loss Foodie version of Shepherd's Pie occurred by accident on Saturday night, when I was 2-3 bites into a really lazy dinner because I was several episodes into Season 3 of my latest Netflix obsession: "Penny Dreadful."

I had zero attention span for cooking. Good thing I keep a container of cooked ground turkey in my fridge. I cook up 1-2 pounds of ground turkey once a week for a quick protein source that I can reheat and add lots of ingredients to.

Also in my leftover arsenal on Saturday night, a container of mashed cauliflower. (I use this recipe.)

Turns out, ground turkey and a big scoop of mashed cauliflower makes for a pretty delicious dinner - and it somehow reminded me of Shepherd's Pie, the old school casserole of ground meat (usually beef or lamb) and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes. 

Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie landed in my kitchen the very next day, and I set out to create a version that was high in protein and fiber, but lower in carbs. This recipe uses ground turkey because that's what I had on hand, but feel free to use ground beef if that's more your style. (Just substitute the low-sodium chicken stock for low-sodium beef stock.)

I can tell I've been watching too much "Penny Dreadful" because I keep wanting to make the joke that this Shepherd's Pie is made with real Shepherds. 

Serves 4-5

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrot, diced

2 leeks, halved and sliced thin*

1 rib of celery, diced

1 1/2- 2 lbs. ground turkey

1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped)

2 Tbs. tomato paste

1 c. low-sodium chicken stock

1 Tbs. Arrowroot powder

sea salt & pepper to taste

FOR MASHED CAULIFLOWER TOPPING:

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 Tbs. olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 Tbs. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish. 

2. In a large pot, boil cauliflower florets and 4 cloves of crushed garlic until florets are very tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and carrots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You do not want the leeks to turn brown.) When vegetables are soft, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute longer.  Add the turkey and thyme, and continue to cook, breaking the turkey up with a wooden spoon, 

3. Once the turkey is browned, stir in the tomato paste. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, stir the broth and Arrowroot powder together until smooth, then pour into the skillet. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. 

4. Pour turkey-vegetable mixture into prepared casserole dish. 

5. TO PREPARE TOPPING: place cooked cauliflower florets and garlic cloves into a food processor. Add olive oil, vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Process on LOW until smooth and creamy. If the mixture needs more liquid, add a tablespoon or two of leftover chicken stock. 

6. Spoon mashed cauliflower over turkey-vegetable mixture and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and bubbly.