A few weeks ago I saw this recipe pop up in my reader. It got the wheels turning in my head, especially since I was looking for alternatives to chicken. I rarely cook with ground beef anymore, usually subbing ground turkey to lighten up a dish. I knew it would a great dish for a cold snowy day, which was due the next day! When I mentioned this dish to my friend Colleen, she told me she had seen a Food Network chef (whom I happen to hate) make Shepard’s Pie with cauliflower. I figured it was a great idea to try it like that in an effort to lighten up a classic comfort food even more.
Lightened Up Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 bunch of cauliflower
- 1/2 cup milk or cream to “mash” cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Steam cauliflower until soft. In a bowl, “mash” with milk or cream and a 1 tbsp of butter until smooth. (Mine never got completely smooth- I don’t have have a a trick for that yet!)
- To make the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare the filling: Pour the oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté just until they begin to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Stir in ketchup, broth and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Continue to simmer gently over medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened slightly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture and stir until combined. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste. (At this point, I transferred my filling to a casserole dish.) Top with the mashed cauliflower. Dot the potatoes with bits of butter.
Place dish on the middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes have browned. Remove and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
I was really pleased with the results! While this wasn’t exactly a replacement for a standard Shephard’s Pie (which would have been carb-heavy and cream and butter-laden) it was certainly a great stand-in. As you know, I’m all about “healthifying” a dish, so long as you don’t sacrifice taste. The ketchup and Worcestershire gave the meat a nice, subtle flavor. What I liked best about this dish was that it was mostly vegetables! The veg/meat ratio was like 3:1 after you consider the cauli, carrots, corn, and peas! I thoroughly enjoyed the healthy swap and froze the remainder in individual containers for quick, easy, future dinners!
When Lloyd asked what we were eating, and I told him Shepard’s Pie, he was confused…
“This isn’t Shepard’s Pie. Shepard’s Pie has potatoes on top.”
I told to him that yes, it normally does, and proceeded to throw Colleen under the bus for explain the healthy swap.