This recipe went way outside of my comfort zone. Like, WAY OUTSIDE. This was along the lines of meatloaf scary. I thought that nothing would be more uncomfortable than the manfood.
I'm not really a casserole person, and anything dumped into a pyrex and cooked together in the oven is pretty much a casserole to me. Strike one.
Additionally, I've never even eaten Shepherd's Pie before, let alone make it in my entire 27 years of living. Strike two.
And...since there wasn't a reason to lay down a third strike, I decided to give it a go! Plus, it's an English dish. (I do not hide my love for the Royal family) My dear friend Sophie grew up across the pond and her mother made Shepherd's pie all the time. They called it "Shepherd's Construction". I think that's what I will call it from now on.
I arranged sort of a recipe "mash-up" of sorts and developed my version based on these two recipes:
If you have everything chopped up and ready to go ahead of time, this is a pretty quick meal to put together. If you don't, I suggest corralling a helper into the kitchen (thank you, Mark!!). It took us about an hour to put the entire dish together and then 30 minutes to cook, and 10 minutes to sit and cool off before we sat down to dig in. If you have the time, great. If not, chop up all of your veggies so that they're ready to go a few days before you cook this up.
Now, for my cooking notes...
I mostly followed the Paleo Comfort Foods recipe, with a few alterations. I only used a pound and a half ground 98% lean ground sirloin and omitted the ground lamb all together. The recipe from Elana's Pantry included bacon for extra flavor so I chopped up about a third of a pound of that to mix in with the ground beef. Since I made the portion smaller, I only used one head of steamed, mashed cauliflower for the top. I kept the rest of the recipe the same.
Next time, I think I will ommit the bacon, and do a mixture of sirloin and pork or even some turkey. I would add in even more celery, carrots, and onions, maybe even add some mushrooms to the mix. Fresh basil would be another great addition. I would also omit the Worcestershire sauce and swap in some red wine for a richer flavor. (this is what my mom would refer to as Italianizing it!)
We loved this dish and Mark even gave it his seal of approval to go on our dinner rotation. The mashed cauliflower was the surprise of the night. It turns out, that when steamed and pureed in a food processor, it really is a good substitute for mashed potatoes! The best part is that it's super flexible and can be customized to your tastebuds. We have been enjoying leftovers for lunch the past couple of days which is also an added bonus. This is definitely a meal I will make and play around with again.
Cheers to branching out! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!