Happy Friday all! I hope you have some good weekend plans- I know I’m ready for it! My friend Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home is back with a wonderful fall/winter recipe for you. She made over Shepherd’s Pie to make it more healthy, without sacrificing any flavor. Since I’ve been eating pretty much the same thing over and over, I’m really looking forward to cooking some delicious good-for-you food. I’ve got my eye on you Thanksgiving! . . .
Be honest…do you think I’ve lost my mind putting “healthy” and “shepherd’s pie” in the same sentence? I promise you, I am still sane!
This shepherd’s pie is thick, richly-flavored, meaty, and fits snugly into the “comfort food” category but is also loaded with healthy vegetables. The typical butter and cream laced potato topping is swapped for a parsnip, potato, and butternut squash puree made rich with just one tablespoon of butter and kept smooth and creamy by using some of the cooking water.
Instead of the traditional lamb I use beef here, and this is my secret to keeping the dish both healthy and doable for a weeknight. Whenever I cook a chuck roast, I make sure I save about a pound of the leftover meat. To cook the chuck, I place it in a Dutch oven with red wine and water covering the meat about 3/4 of the way.
I roast it, covered, in the oven for about 4 hours, until the meat shreds apart. I carefully go through the meat with a couple of butter knives, shredding it all and removing any visible fat. Then I set aside about a pound of the shredded, de-fatted meat and freeze it until I’m ready to make shepherd’s pie.
The taste is everything you might want from a shepherd’s pie but you can put that indulgence guilt away for another time and eat happily with the knowledge that you are putting a cornucopia of healthy things into your body.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 c. peeled and chopped carrots (about 3 medium)
1 c. chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
14 oz. can chicken broth
14 oz. can beef broth
large bunch Swiss chard, center stems removed, chopped
1 tbsp. flour
1 lb. cooked, shredded beef from a chuck roast
1 c. peeled parsnips, cut into chunks
2 c. peeled potatoes, cut into chunks
2 c. peeled butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 tbsp. butter
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, and thyme. Saute until partially tender then add broths and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in Swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
Put the flour in a small bowl, scoop a bit of the hot broth into the bowl, and whisk until smooth. Add to the pot and stir in the beef. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
While the filling is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add parsnips and cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and squash and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Return vegetables to the pot and use a hand mixer to puree the vegetables with the butter. Add reserved cooking liquid a bit at a time until everything is smooth.