We all have foods that both nourish our bodies and comfort our hearts and souls, and a Shepherd’s Pie, with a delicious filling of meat, vegetables, and creamy gravy, topped with a steaming crust of mashed potatoes certainly fits that bill. But sometimes (OK, almost all of the time!), we don’t want to spend the hours in the kitchen to produce such a culinary delight, which is where my Upside Down Shepherd’s Pie comes into play.
This meal can be put together, from start to finish, in under 40 minutes, if starting from scratch. But I often plan ahead, and use leftover mashed potatoes or malanga from a previous meal, and pull out some already browned ground beef from the freezer (my family does a regular Mega Cook, what Lisa refers to as Mega Meals or Once a Month Cooking). Doing that, I can have a delicious, nutritious, and healthy meal that is also Paleo and allergy friendly, on the table in 20 minutes! Now I think every mama could find comfort in that, especially a busy homeschooling mama of two little ones like myself.
My family, especially my husband, is always thrilled when they know Upside Down Shepherd’s Pie is on the menu, and I always make plenty so we can have leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone! Or you could double the recipe and freeze the extra filling to pull out for a busy time, when you need a bit of extra comfort to finish out your day.
Upside Down Shepherd's Pie
2 lbs ground beef (or ground meat of choice)
2 small or 1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 medium carrots, finely chopped
2-3 Cups frozen green peas (depends on how much you like!)
1 bunch kale, chopped (optional)
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
Sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and Italian seasoning, to taste
2 ½ Cups chicken or beef broth, divided*
2 Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch (corn starch will work for non-Paleo folks, or people without corn allergies, which we unfortunately have)
Mashed potatoes, mashed malanga, rice, or other starch to serve as a base
- In a large skillet (I use a huge electric skillet) brown the ground beef, drain if necessary. Add the onion and carrots, and cook until starting to get tender. Add the garlic. (If starting with already cooked ground beef, start by cooking the onions and carrots until they start to get tender and then add in the thawed, cooked ground beef.)
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. (or any other herbs or spices that strike your fancy!)
- Stir in the frozen peas, the kale if you are using it, and about 2 ¼ cups of the broth, reserving ¼ cup of the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Whisk the arrowroot or tapioca starch into the reserved broth, and gently stir into the pan of ground meat mixture until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
- While you are preparing the filling, make or reheat the mashed potatoes, malanga, or rice that will serve as your base.
- To serve: Place a base layer of your mashed potatoes, malanga, or rice on the plate or bowl, and top with a generous portion of the filling. Enjoy!
*I always use my chicken carcasses and beef bones to make a rich bone broth, which I store in quart jars in the freezer. I just pull them out to thaw the day I will need to use it.
Heather has been married for over 10 years, and is a homeschooling mom to two precious little ones. She is living with chronic illness and autoimmune disease, and does her best to make healthy choices for her family’s minds, bodies, and hearts. Her family lives a Paleo lifestyle due to their food allergies, and she blogs at Created to be Paleo.