Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower

In truth, I actually made this a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get a post up before the weather turned sunny and warm, when shepherd’s pie was the furthest thing from my mind.  But today, the rain is back, so here some perfect comfort food, that is actually a bit lighter than you would think.

My friend Catie first made it and raved, so I figured it was worth a try.  Good grass fed beef and thick cut bacon really make it in my mind, as does the cauliflower-for-potato swap.  This wasn’t something I grew up with, but will definitely come into my cold-weather rotation.  I recommend getting in on the table before the sun is here to stay!

Meat, veg & bacon - for shepherd pie

Cauliflower Lattice Top

Shepherd's Pie & Salad

Catie’s Shepherd’s Pie
slightly adapted from Catie Grimm

½ pound pork bacon, cut into 2 inch slices
1 large onion, diced (would normally use yellow, but only had red on hand)
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced celery
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1½ pounds organic grass fed ground beef
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
1-2 teaspoons worcestershire (optional)
1 cup chicken broth

2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft
2 tablespoons olive oil and/or 2 tablespoons milk
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat until cooked; remove bacon and drain off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat, reserve remaining.   Sauté onion in bacon fat for 10 minutes or until just soft. Add carrots, mushrooms and celery to pan and sauté for another 10 minutes, or until soft, adding more bacon fat if needed.

Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, add tomato paste and worcestershire if using. Add back in reserved bacon and add chicken broth; cook down broth until 60% evaporated.

Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with olive oil and/or milk until smooth.  Add ¾ cup cheese and pulse; season with salt and pepper.

Pour ground beef mixture into a 9×13 baking dish, or just keep in pan, if oven safe.  Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture (optional lattice work with a fork) and sprinkle any extra cheese on top.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.