Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie, Paleo-ized

Today is going to be a WONDERFUL day.  Why? First, it’s Friday.  The Friday before the Friday before Christmas, to be exact.  This means that it is the first of two seriously amazing weekends with my seriously amazing friends.  Sure, I have to work tonight and tomorrow night, but after I get finished, I am going to don the glitteriest skirts and highest heels I own and circle Seattle’s party circuit like it’s my job.  Because it will be.  Second, my brother and I are finally going to head downtown to get Santa pictures in some truly hideous sweaters – this is awesome for a very self-explanitory reason.  Third, my mom’s birthday party is Sunday, which means I am spending tomorrow making the most devilish cake on the planet (think everything that isn’t Paleo in cake form and you get close to imagining how gluttonous this cake is) before taking it to the aforementioned Seahawks-themed party.  Finally, I am spending Sunday night on a hot date at the Nutcracker with my very best friend, who is coming home for the holidays TONIGHT.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen… Booker and Trashles are going to be in the same city once again.  I’ve known Ashley for almost ten years, but it wasn’t until the summer we lived in a studio apartment together in Greece that we realized we were basically two peas in a pod.  We both subscribe to the “work hard, play harder” philosophy, which means that good times are always on the horizon.  If you live in Seattle, you’d better watch out (or hit me up to join the party) because this weekend is going to be a bedazzled, good-for-nothing, really good time.

Slightly classier photo of Ashley and me.

Which get’s me back to Shepherd’s Pie.  Weekends like this one mean that I’m not going to have a lot of time to cook for myself.  I need something in the fridge that is ready to grab and go or scarf down immediately… and will last until early into the next week.  This recipe does exactly that and is so. easy. to. make.  Your Paleo friends will love it if you bring it to a holiday party – if it weren’t for the substitution of sweet potatoes for Yukon gold potatoes, they probably wouldn’t even know it was a Paleo dish to begin with.

Have fun this weekend everyone!

… and good luck having as much fun as me!

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:
1.5 lb. ground beef (or lamb)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 pearl onions, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
Handful cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 small can crushed tomatoes
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1.5 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter (optional)
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 egg (for egg wash)

Method:
1. Prepare your sweet potatoes.  Place potatoes in a large pot and just cover with water.  Salt water and add a few smashed garlic cloves.  Cover and bring to a boil for 15 minutes, or until potatoes can be pierced with a fork.  Remove from heat and drain.  Add coconut milk and 2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter.  Salt and pepper to taste, adding more garlic if you’re feeling crazy.  Mash everything together until potatoes are smooth.  Set aside.

2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion with a pinch of salt until soft.  Add garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and saute until carrots soften.

3. Add beef to the pan and brown over medium heat.  Season with salt, pepper and oregano, stirring well to incorporate with the vegetables.  Add crushed tomatoes and mix until it absorbs into the meat.  Add chopped parsley and stir to combine.  Turn heat down and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.

4.  Spoon the meat mixture into a casserole dish.  Next, spoon your reserved mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the meat.  Use your spoon to make peaks if you’d like the mashed potatoes to get a little brown in the oven (this is missing in my picture because I forgot to do it on picture day).  Lightly beat the egg and brush over the top of the potatoes.

5.  Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet to prevent dripping and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.  Then, turn on your broiler for 2-3 minutes so the top gets nice and crisp.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves: An army… of about 10.

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