Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie (with Vegan Alternatives)

You know, I don't think I ever had shepherd's pie growing up, and it still isn't my favourite. It's a brilliant meal for leftovers, but we always had dogs, so leftovers weren't really a part of our lifestyle.

However, now that we have a huge pet-void in our lives, leftovers abound. I'm still trying to figure out this weird phenomenon. But this idea of shepherd's pie has been a helpful first step.

The basic math of shepherd's pie involves leftover meat, leftover veggies, and leftover gravy mixed together and tossed in a casserole dish, topped with leftover mashed potatoes. Bake. Simple as... pie! Fricken genius.

Last night I only had leftover potatoes, though. So this is what I did:

(If you don't have mashed potatoes on hand, simply peel, chop and boil about 6, or more if you like, large potatoes for about 20 mins or until you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork. Then drain the water and add some butter or margarine, a couple tablespoons worth or so. Also add milk, up to a cup or so. Any milk works: cow, soy, almond, rice, oat, that lonely bag of breastmilk in the back of your freezer... Ok, kidding on that one, haha. Or try coconut milk for a fun flavour! Add salt and pepper to taste. Use a potato masher or fork and make a beautiful creamy goop, and set aside.)


A Bunch of Mashed Potatoes
1 Medium Onion
2 tbsp Olive Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1 lb Ground Turkey (or chicken, beef, bison, venison, soy, lentils, WHATEVER)
4 tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro *see below recipe for herb & spice alternatives
2+ Cloves of Garlic crushed and minced
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 cups Turkey Broth (or chicken, beef, veggie)
3 tbsp Arrowroot Flour
2-3 cups Chopped Veggies (the original recipe called for peas, carrots and red peppers. I used peas, carrots, celery, green pepper and tomatoes. Feel free to use anything! I bet mushrooms and leeks would be great!)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)


1. Make potatoes if none on hand. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Chop onion and put into a large pan with oil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until a few onions just start to brown a little around the edges.

3. Add meat to the pan and cook until browned, stirring often. If using lentils or other beans, mix in and continue with recipe right away.

4. Add cilantro, garlic, and spices. Cook 2-3 mins, stirring often.

5. Add broth, flour, and veggies. Bring to a boil in the pan and cook 5-6 mins, or until liquid is thickened.

6. Transfer the pan contents into a greased casserole dish. Top with potatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

7. Bake 45 minutes, then let stand for a few minutes before serving.


*Instead of cilantro, you can try using fresh parsley. And then substitute the chili powder, paprika and turmeric for 1 tsp rosemary and 1 tsp oregano.

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