If you have ever had traditional Shepherd's Pie, you know how delicious it is. This simple yet satisfying comfort food is a perfect choice during the fall and winter months. But before we go any further, let it be known that this is not a traditional version of the recipe.
Technically, if Shepherd's Pie is made with beef, it is referred to as Cottage Pie. Have you even heard of such a thing? A Shepherd's pie is made of minced lamb. But over the years, particularly in the United States, the term Shepherd's Pie has been used synonymously with lamb or beef. This dish came about as a way to use left over meat. Mashed potatoes line the baking dish as well as serves as a top crust for the pie. The meat is mixed with winter vegetables and together, all of these things create a memorable dish that is sure to top your list of favorites!
Here is the meat mixture and then with kabocha squash on top before baking.
So as I said, this is not a traditional recipe in that I used mashed kabocha squash instead of mashed potatoes. Holy moly is it ever good! When fall arrives, I like to use kabocha squash whenever I get the opportunity. The taste is so unique and flavorful. While it does have a naturally sweet tone, it is not as sweet as a sweet potato or butternut squash. It has just the right amount of sweetness to bring the perfect balance of sweet and savory to this recipe. Trust me, you are going to love this!
I prefer using grass fed ground beef. But lamb or turkey will work too. It's really up to you and your preference. You can use a variety of hearty winter vegetables. These just happen to be some of my favorites for this recipe. For my vegan friends, try swapping the meat for some lentils...so yummy!
1 & 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs arrowroot flour (optional- adds thickness to the meat mixture)
1 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup broth (beef,chicken, or vegetable)
2 tsp coconut oil, divided
Mashed Kabocha Squash
1. Make a batch of mashed kabocha squash and set aside until ready to use. Make the day before if necessary. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
2. In a large frying pan, melt 1 tsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the ground beef. While browning, add the rosemary, chili powder, and coriander. Continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat and remove the meat mixture from the pan and into another bowl. Set aside.
3. In the same frying pan, melt the remaining teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Then add the carrots, fennel, and bell pepper. Season the veggies with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the carrots are slightly softened.
4. Add the meat mixture back into the frying pan. Stir in the arrowroot flour and coat well. Then stir in the tomato paste and broth. Simmer for 7-10 minutes. It really depends on your desired tenderness of the vegetables.
5. Transfer the meat mixture into a 4 quart casserole dish, like this Le Creuset. Top with the mashed kabocha squash and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!