The ultimate food hug
Through documenting my cooking adventures writing this blog I have come to realise my cooking style changes quite dramatically with the seasons. In the Summer it’s all about grilled meats with fancy salads but come Autumn I return to the joy that is ‘one-pot stodge’. For me, November marks the official start of comfort food season. Clocks have gone back, the hopes of an Indian Summer are long gone and new Winter coat and boots have been purchased. In the comfort food months I definitely favour cooking up in bulk large stews, soups and pies for the ultimate food hug.
Shepherd’s pie (lamb), not to be confused with cottage pie (beef) is in my opinion a wicked time saving complete meal in a pot – combining a tasty meat & vegetable stew topped with creamy mash. Traditional versions of the pie rely on white potatoes for the mash. However, since I actually don’t like white potatoes that much (yes really) and think squash is far superior on the taste scale I prefer to use it my topping. In any case white potatoes are particularly high in starchy carbohydrates, therefore high on the Glycaemic Index, so that’s another reason to favour seasonal squash. In this recipe I bulked out the topping further with another low-carb super veg – cauliflower.
For the filling, I have free-styled slightly from tradition with my choice of herbs and spices. This is by no means a traditional shepherds pie – but blooming delicious all the same. Good job I made 6 portions – that should keep me going for – oooh 6 days…
Ingredients (serves 6)
- Coconut oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 1 leek, finely diced
- 800g of Lamb mince (pref grass fed/organic)
- 200g of mushrooms, finely sliced (mine were Fostiere mushrooms!)
- 500g carton of passata (sieved tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 T ground coriander
- 1 T dried oregano
- a sprinkling of nutmeg & cinnamon
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 head of cauliflower
- fresh mint
- optional: Sumac, toasted pine nuts and steamed kale to serve
- First make the lamb ragu. Sauté the garlic, onion and leeks in a little coconut oil till softened. Add the mince and continue to fry until browned. Add the mushrooms, all the herbs and spices, give a good stir and finally pour in the passata. Season and leave to simmer for as long as you can wait – at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile steam the squash and cauliflower. When softened, drain well and mash with a masher or if you’re lazy like me stick it all in a food processor. It helps if you do each veg separately then combine in a bowl. Return the mash to a warm saucepan to steam off any excess moisture. You don’t want runny mash! Add some fresh mint, season and a tablespoon of coconut oil to the mash.
- When the ragu is ready pour into a large baking dish, then smear over the squash-cauli mash. Run a fork over the top of the mash in lines, so that when you put it under the grill the top crisps a little.
- Stick under a grill for 10 minutes, or until browned off.
- Serve as desired!
What flavours do you put into your Shepherd’s pie??