I have a food blogger confession: Sometimes I’ll make a recipe and then have so many other post topics lined up that I don’t get a chance to blog about it. But then a few weeks later when I need a post topic, I’ll remember that recipe and blog about it, pretending I just made it recently. I know, I’m sneaky sometimes.
Well, today I’ll be straight with you. I made this elk shepherd’s pie two weeks ago but I wanted to hold off on posting it until the fall weather arrived. And I can feel it coming now! There’s a definite chill in the air in the mornings and evenings, and I find myself snuggling into my blankets at night instead of kicking them aside.
When fall arrives, so do my cravings for hearty comfort food. Cheesy baked pastas, creamy casseroles, and roasts drowned in gravy all start to sound so appealing to me! Luckily comfort food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy. This shepherd’s pie is made lower in fat than most recipes by using lean elk meat, skim milk, and less butter. Plus I gave it a twist by sneaking cauliflower into the potato layer, which reduces the calories and adds extra nutrients. So go ahead and make this – and take comfort in knowing that it’s good for you!
Elk shepherd’s pie
1.5 lb ground elk
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 tbsp flour
1 cup no salt added beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2/3 cup peas
3/4 cup corn
700 g white potatoes (4-5 medium), cut into chunks
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3/4 cup skim milk
1.5 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
Note: Preheat the oven to 350°F before starting to cook.
Bottom layer: In a very large skillet brown the meat over medium heat, then transfer to a plate. Heat up the olive oil in the same skillet and add the onions and carrots. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until they start to become soft. Put the elk back in the skillet then add the flour and stir until it is evenly distributed. Then stir in the broth, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and raise the heat. Let it simmer while continuing to stir. When it has slightly thickened, mix in the peas and corn and transfer the mixture to a rectangular shallow baking dish.
Top layer: In a large steamer (or in a big sieve placed over a pot of water, which is what I did) steam the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Then add the cauliflower and steam for another 15 minutes, or until both the potato and cauliflower are very soft. Transfer them to a large pot, then mash them together until they have the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add in the milk, butter, and salt, then stir over low heat until it is mixed.
Assembling and baking: Spread the top layer onto the meat layer and smooth it out with a wooden spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until you notice the meat layer has started to bubble. Let cool for a few minutes, then dig in!
What are your favourite healthy comfort foods?
What are your favourite unhealthy comfort foods?