I made this over a week ago, hence the pretty fall photo edit, and was in the midst of getting the recipe jotted for the blog…and we all got sick! Then there was Thanksgiving and a week of recovering, family stuff, and regular day-to-day goings on of the PreciousBelovedBlessing house. So, here it is!
I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year and who doesn’t love comfort food?! I haven’t made Shepherd’s Pie in ages and it doesn’t come to mind when you are thinking either paleo or AIP, but it sounded good one night, so I looked at what I had in the fridge and decided to wing it.
What is paleo or AIP, you might be wondering. Paleo is a type of diet that uses inspiration from our ancestors for a cleaner, less refined or processed, way of living. It is free from grains, dairy (in some cases), and refined sugars, and basically anything artificial. To me, it simply means a cleaner way of living. AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol, which is a version of the paleo diet that also eliminates nuts, seeds, definitely dairy, and nightshades, among other things. I don’t think any one diet or lifestyle is one size fits all. I eat the way I do to help me manage autoimmune issues such as Celiacs disease, eczema, asthma, and some other things. I have found certain things I can have and certain things I can’t.
One thing I have never been able to reintroduce are nightshades. A nightshade is a certain genre of a seed or plant with a make up that can be very irritating to the gut of some people – and I am one of them. This includes – in this dish for instance – white potatoes and tomatoes. I have discovered I can have a small amount of good-quality dairy on occasion, but my son (who also has to eat gluten-free) can’t tolerate any, but I had tried a couple of side dish recipes that used just a little fat and a food processor and had whipped up amazing mashed potato-like goodness, so I gave this a try.
I had sweet potatoes in my cupboard, ground beef in my fridge, along with some pureed pumpkin (a great substitute for the traditional tomato), and lots of veggies. Here is what I came up with. We all loved it, including my husband who isn’t crazy about sweet potatoes! The ghee I have reintroduced successfully, but if you are still in the elimination diet phase of AIP use whatever cooking fat you prefer, like lard or coconut oil.
Paleo & AIP Shepherd’s Pie
4 medium sweet potatoes (yams would work as well)
2 Tablespoons ghee (or cooking fat of choice)
1 clove garlic
Dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil to taste (I used probably about a Tablespoon total of the three when mixed)
Sea salt to taste
1 pound ground beef (or other ground meat; Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with lamb, which would be good; I just used what I had on hand)
1 small onion
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (or more if preferred – mine were pretty big)
2 cups sliced kale (spinach or chard would be good too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil to taste
2 Tablespoons plain pumpkin puree (canned ok, but NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
2 cups stock or broth (preferably homemade)
1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch
First, cook the sweet potatoes. Peel and cube them and place in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer about 15 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
While the potatoes cook preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F) and grease a large baking dish. (I used a 9×13” pan – there are only three of us, but I wanted lots of leftovers for the busy upcoming holiday week.)
Next, brown the meat, breaking it up into small pieces, season lightly with salt, and remove from pan with a slotted spoon when finished cooking; set aside. Into the hot pan add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook a few minutes, until softened and the onion is fragrant. Add the kale and cook until wilted, mixing well.
While that is cooking add the arrowroot starch to the broth and whisk well to combine. Add to the pan, along with the garlic, herbs, and pumpkin, stirring well to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce is thick and bubbly; this may take a few minutes. Then add the browned meat and pour all into your prepared pan.
Lastly, take your drained sweet potatoes and put in a blender or food processor. Add the remaining topping ingredients and blend until combined and fluffy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be and then add to the top of the meat mixture. I did this by spooning dallops over the top before carefully spreading it. It takes a little time but is worth the effort!
Bake about 45 minutes, or until browned and bubbling.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday and you enjoy this dish. I’m definitely going to be making it again!
Have a great day,