Elk shepherd’s pie with a twist

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.

Elk shepherd's pie

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
Serves 6-8

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.

Elk shepherd's pie

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!

Elk shepherd's pie

What are your favourite healthy comfort foods?

What are your favourite unhealthy comfort foods?


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19 Responses to Elk shepherd’s pie with a twist

  1. Yum! I'm all about comfort foods in the fall (and kind of all year round). Last night I was craving a big bowl of chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese – it's a childhood favorite. I also really love mashed potatoes and gravy…bring on Thanksgiving!

  2. I've never had elk but I love sheperds pie so I am sure this is delicious! Such comfort food!

  3. This looks amazing! What does Elk taste like?

  4. I have had roasted elk before, and loved it! This shepherd's pie looks so delicious! I think my favourite comfort food is scalloped potatoes and ham (but it's so hard to decide on just one)! :)

  5. I LOVE elk. I once had an elk burger in NYC and it was one of the best burgers I've ever had.

  6. Hehe oh the secrets of a food blogger… we're a sneaky bunch ;) Fall is definitely a perfect time for comfort foods, and this shepherd's pie sounds fabulous for those crisp days! I'd have to say that a big bowl of oatmeal with tonnes of toppings is my favorite comfort food, bit I can't deny that a plate of cheesy mashed potatoes with creamed corn and gravy definitely help take the chill off as well.

  7. I've tried an elk burger before – I really liked it! Tasted red meat-ish but not quite as greasy.I love healthifying comfort food recipes. I'm always down for a lasagna or mashed potatoes, even in the middle of summer. My absolute favourite comfort food is probably my mom's scalloped potatoes. Canned cream of mushroom soup at it's best. :-)

  8. I have made a healthier shepards pie once too and I loved it.. I will def be trying yours! I would say my favorite unhealthy comfort food is extra creamy tomato soup with an uber gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Umm yum!

  9. Oh wow, this looks like ultimate comfort food!I don't even know my favourite comfort food, probably a big bowl of soup with a sandwich

  10. Yum – I've never had elk, but I'd love to try it. I had a hunter's pie one time (pretty much the same thing) with rabbit and deer inside, and it was fabulous. I'm sure I'd love this dish too!

  11. Well you've done it again! Love the addition of cauliflower and I definitely have never cooked ELK!

  12. That is so cool that you eat elk! I'm a vegetarian, but I really respect meat eaters who go out of the box to eat other things. :)

  13. Ali

    That looks so good! I've never tried elk before. My favorite healthy comfort food is probably my mom's lentil soup–hearty with veggies, no cream, hot and delicious! Unhealthy comfort food…mac and cheese!!! YUM. Or stuffing.

  14. Yum! There's nowhere to get elk around here but I've been wanting to try some new meats!

  15. Yes! There's nothing better than grilled cheese when I'm craving comfort food. Especially if it's kicked up a notch by using gruyere and caramelized onions. Or apple, brie, and fig butter. Sooo good!

  16. Like beef, but more gamey. I really like it!

  17. My dad used to make scalloped potatoes when I was a kid! They were always so good.

  18. Oatmeal is my ultimate comfort food too! I seriously never get sick of it.

  19. Yes to grilled cheese! My favourite. :D

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