Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cottage Pie

"What do you want for dinner tomorrow night?"
"Beef stew"
I'm thinking, aw man, that's gonna take all day
"No, wait, can you make it like a Shepherd's Pie, with peas and carrots and stuff?"
I'm still thinking "no" but then start thinking some kind of hybrid.  In my quest for a recipe that I could make Paleo, I learned that Shepherd's Pie is technically made with Lamb and that Cottage Pie is made with beef.  So here's what I did:

1 lb. stew meat (grass fed beef) cubed
1 lb. ground beef (grass fed)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves mashed and chopped
2 cups tomato puree (or tomato sauce--low sodium, but watch for sugar)
1.5 cups beef stock
3 carrots sliced
1 celery stalk sliced
1.5 cups organic frozen petite peas, thawed
2-3 med. Japanese yams
1-2 tbsp. coconut milk (from a can--not the stuff in the cartons) 
Sea salt 

 I used a crock pot for some of this but you can use a heavy pot that can go in the oven too.  I also made this dish in fits and starts as that was how my day was going to go.  It takes about 20 mins. max to get the filling to the crock pot stage/oven--put it in at 300 for about 3hrs. if  you want to use the oven.  Finishing is up to you, read on...

Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron if you have it) and add 1-2 tbsp. grapeseed oil.  When the oil is hot (shimmering but not smoking) brown the stew meat evenly on all sides.  I even cut the chunks down further than the butcher as I wanted the kids to be able to take on the chunks of meat.  When browned remove from pan and set in a bowl or put right into the crock pot.  Brown the ground beef and add that to the crock pot as well.  If using the crock pot, just add the tomato, stock, chopped onion, garlic, and salt to taste. Combine everything and cook on high for no more than 3 hrs or low for at least 5, but it can go all day if you need it to. If using the oven, sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5 min. and add that to the meat in the pot before going into the oven.  Cook for a minimum of 3 hrs.  About 30 min. before you're ready to eat put in the carrots and celery.  Take everything out of the oven, keep the cover on, and set aside.   Preheat your oven to 500. 

Peel and cut the yams into chunks and boil/simmer on the stove until tender, about 20 mins.  Mash with coconut milk and a touch of olive oil to a slightly chunky consistency, add some salt to taste.  Set aside.  You can do this at any point during the day and store,  you can even do it the day before if you want...

Add peas to the meat mixture just before assembling pie. I used a slotted spoon to put the filling into individual pie plates and we're going to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow as it has more of a soup consistency.  You can keep your filling to whatever consistency works for you and put it in a 2-3 qt. single casserole.  Spread the mashed sweet potato on top and drizzle with olive oil.  Put in the 500 oven for 10 min. or until top browns up a bit.  Let sit for about 5 min. before serving. 

I served this with a butter lettuce and pink lady apple salad with pecans and apple cider vinaigrette.  I got a big thumbs up from the kids and Steve said it was his new favorite meal.

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