I am finally getting some “me time” back in the kitchen, even though our remodel project STILL isn’t finished. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve told someone that we’re never doing this again, I could have paid for a new house by now. But it will be great once it is done, and I’m sure I’ll forget all about my angst. We try to do a pantry/freezer challenge in January because it is typically a time when our freezers are pretty full and could use a little forced cleaning out. I tend to horde all of that stuff I preserved back in the fall, so I have to force myself to let us eat it come January or else it will still be there when it is time to start preserving again.
After making a similar meatless dish one at Thanksgiving, I subbed in some pastured ground beef in place on the lentils and used some butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes. Either way is delicious, so test it for yourself using what you have on hand. I had some parnsips and turnips when I made it last week, so I added those into the topping. I like to make this on Sundays because it makes delicious leftovers too. It would also freeze well, if you’re looking for a dish to take to a friend or freeze for later for yourself.
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed*
- 1/2 cup whole milk (or your favorite alternative milk)
- 4 tbsp butter or coconut oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound pastured ground beef
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped**
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup water or stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, add the butternut squash, two cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper, and pour about two tablespoons over the squash. Mix together briefly to make sure the squash is adequately coated. Spread out the squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 40-45 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.
- While the squash is roasting, add the remaining olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook until browned. With a slotted spoon, remove it from skillet (I like to put it in the bowl I used for the butternut squash to avoid dirtying another dish).
- Leave any fat in the skillet and add additional olive oil if necessary. Add the onions and cook until softened. Then add the carrots and celery, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms with a bit of salt and continue cooking mixture for a few more minutes.
- Once the mushrooms are browned, add the remaining garlic, paprika, thyme, tomato paste and red wine. Let wine cook down for about a minute, and then add water. Add beef back to mixture, and lower temperature to simmer.
- Once squash is finished roasting, add it with the butter or coconut oil, milk (or alternative milk), salt, and pepper to taste to a large bowl (I like to just put it right back in the bowl it came from. It will pick up a little of the browned beef, but that is tasty!). Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mash up the squash until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes. You may need to add a bit more milk or stock, depending on your desired consistency.
- Taste the meat mixture and add salt and/or pepper to desired taste.Lower the oven to 350°F.
- Dump the meat mixture in a 9x13 pan, and spread the butternut squash mixture over the top with a spatula. The kids like some Parmesan or Asiago cheese shredded on top, but it is delicious without too.
- Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
- *If using sweet potatoes, I prefer to leave the skin on to save time, but otherwise use the same method. I typically use about 4-5 large sweet potatoes for the topping.
- **Other yummy veggies to use in addition to carrots and celery or in place of: chopped parsnips, turnips, diced tomatoes, peas, and leeks.
Very adapted from The Kitchn.
Note: This is very easily adapted for food sensitivities/Whole30/paleo. Just sub out the dairy with the alternatives listed in the recipe.