Oct 09 , 2018
Shepherd’s pie originated as a sort of mince meat pie common in the UK and Ireland. Today, it makes a great choice for a hearty, satisfying family meal — whether you live in a country cottage, city condo or a suburban home.
That’s because shepherd’s pie can be prepared using minimal pots and pans. The result falls somewhere between a stew and a casserole, and makes for the perfect centerpiece in a family dinner (and likely will lend plenty of leftovers!).
Our Autumn Elk Shepherd’s Pie recipe is inspired by the flavors and colors of fall, when the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves turn fiery shades or red, orange and yellow.
Traditional shepherd’s pie calls for beef and russet potatoes, as well as classic veggie medleys such as peas and carrots. To make ours a little more fall-forward and antioxidant-rich, we suggest using sweet potatoes for the topping, with vibrant late-summer vegetables such as butternut squash, rainbow carrots, and cauliflower inside. Diced green apple adds a burst of tartness. Top with a garnish of crispy sage for an earthy, floral and buttery garnish (and do prepare extra, as you’ll want to go back for more!).
Autumn Elk Shepherd’s Pie (Makes six servings)
1 lb ground elk Frontière Natural Meats
3 sweet potatoes, peeled
¼ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp butter, separated
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 rainbow (or regular) carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped raw cauliflower
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
½ Granny Smith apple, diced
½ cup frozen peas
8-12 fresh sage leaves, for garnish
For the mashed potatoes:
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut in half. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, uncover, decrease heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes slightly, and then add the sour cream, 3 Tbsp butter, a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mash until smooth.
For the filling:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add canola oil into a 12-inch cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet and warm over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, butternut squash and cauliflower, and stir to combine.
Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and add the Frontiere Natural elk meat to the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes, breaking it up as you stir. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, mixing with the vegetables and continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme, and apple and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, 5 to 6 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Turn off the heat. Add peas to the elk mixture and stir. Top with the mashed sweet potatoes, spreading evenly from the edges to the center. Place the cast iron pan on the middle rack and bake for 15-20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown and the filling bubbles around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
For the garnish:
While the shepherd’s pie is cooling, heat a clean skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Just as it begins to bubble, drop in the whole sage leaves and allow to fry for one minute. Turn and cook the other side for one minute. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve atop each bowl of shepherd’s pie.