Grant and I have watched Downton Abbey since it debuted on PBS in 2011. It feels like the show’s characters are old friends at this point. I thought the finale was great. I was a bit annoyed that Tom’s annoying girlfriend reappeared, but all-in-all, I thought the writers wrapped everything up well.
We were sad that it was ending, so invited some fellow Downton-lovers over for a finale party on Sunday night. Two of the friends are doing the paleo thing, so I made this paleo-ish and British-ish shepherd’s pie for dinner, which has become a staple at our house because it’s a great way to use up random vegetables in the fridge, it’s another recipe for my ground beef repertoire, and it’s delicious.
If you’re really doing the paleo or Whole30 thing, use ghee or olive oil for your mashed potato mixture – or maybe substitute cauliflower or sweet potatoes instead. We like to make mashed potatoes with rutabagas, parsnips, or, our favorite, turnips.
- 6 small red potatoes, cut into chunks
- 3-4 large turnips, cut into chunks
- ½ cup grass fed heavy cream
- 4 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 pounds ground beef or pork
- 2 onions, diced
- 3-4 carrots, diced
- 3-4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ cup water or stock
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp rosemary (fresh if you have it)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- You want about five pounds of veggies for your mash, so use that to come up with your ratios if you're using a mixture of root vegetables. I don't bother peeling most root vegetables, but do what makes you happy.
- Dump them in a large pot, cover with enough water so that the water reaches about an inch above the vegetables, bring to a boil, and then continue cooking until just barely tender. I do these in my pressure cooker, so it doesn't take long.
- Start chopping your vegetables while the potatoes cook. Use about a tablespoon of butter or ghee, and begin sauteing your onions over medium heat. Once the onions have softened, add the meat and continue cooking until the meat is browned.
- Add the remaining the vegetables and mushrooms, the garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Continue cooking over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the water or stock, bring to a simmer, and cook for another 20 minutes or more if you have time. The sauce reduces the longer you simmer it.
- While the meat mixture cooks down, drain the potatoes if you haven't already. Add heavy cream (substitute coconut milk if you're sensitive to dairy/on the Whole30), 2 tbsp butter or ghee, salt and pepper to taste (I like LOTS of pepper on mine). Smash them up using a potato masher or mixer.
- Dump meat mixture into large 9x13 baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly on top. Cut up remaining butter (or ghee) and spread over potatoes. You could also drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil on top if you'd rather.
- At this point, you can freeze this or put it in the fridge for up to two days to easily make this ahead and bake just before you're ready to eat.
- When you're ready to serve, place pie in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes have browned on top.
Lots of people like peas in their shepherd's pie, but we don't. I do like finely diced green beans as a substitute if I have them on hand. Feel free to experiment with what's in your fridge or garden.
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo.
Soooo what should we watch next?