Think back to your pre-AIP days… what cooking strategies did you use that made weeknight dinners easier? Growing up, the answer in our household was casseroles! Lasagna, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Chicken Taquitos; you name it and we had it. Casseroles are a beautiful thing. Although they require some time upfront, they can also make life so much easier after a long day of work when you’re tired and barely have the energy to take your socks off (oh, just me?).
Shepherd’s pie is the perfect AIP casserole, in my humble opinion. The ground beef mixture is the perfect vehicle for packing in beautiful seasonal veggies, and even sneaking them onto your kid’s plate! The mashed rutabaga topping is creamy, luscious, and so comforting as the temperatures drop outside. I mean, who doesn’t love beef and mashed “potatoes”? This dish is rich and filling, so I love to serve a simple greens salad with an apple cider vinaigrette on the side.
2 TBS cooking fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow)
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 – 2 medium rutabagas, largely cubed (about 5 cups)
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup frozen peas (optional, AIP reintro)
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ cup coconut milk
⅔ cup bone broth
Melt 1 TBS of cooking fat in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in ground beef and season with 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper. While the beef is browning, add rutabagas to a medium size pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil the rutabagas until soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 10 — 15 min. Drain and set aside. Once the beef is fully browned, remove from skillet and transfer to a pie plate or casserole dish. Keeping the skillet on medium heat,melt the remaining 1 TBS of cooking fat, add in onions, mushrooms and celery, and saute for 5 minutes. Next, add in your apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan. Then add in carrots, peas, and garlic and cook for an additional 3 -5 minutes, until carrots start to soften. While the vegetables saute, season with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 2 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp of oregano. Next, transfer the veggies to the dish with the ground beef. Add the coconut milk, bone broth, remaining 1 tsp of salt and garlic powder to the cooked rutabagas and blend with an immersion blender (this helps create a creamier texture). You can also mash together with a standard masher. Cover the beef and vegetable mixture with the mashed rutabagas. Transfer to the over for serving or cover in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the completed shepherd’s pie for 10 – 20 minutes, broiling for the last 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!