This is one of those traditional dishes that everyone seems to have eaten that I didn’t try until I was an adult. It just wasn’t something my parents made growing up, but it is a wonderfully hearty savory meal for cold weather. Oddly enough the first time I ever made and tried Shepherd’s pie it was a vegetarian version I happened to see from Rachael Ray on the Food Network. I absolutely love the flavors of this meatless dish, but since I’ve been trying to add more protein into my primal diet, I thought it was about time I made a real shepherd’s pie with meat. I decided to keep all of the flavors I love from Rachael Ray’s dish and swap the mushroom filling for pulled pork. I guess I still haven’t managed to eat a real traditional shepherd’s pie with ground beef–the British would probably be appalled. Nonetheless, I love the flavor combination!
And for those primal eaters out there, I made the topping completely out of parsnips to eliminate the starchy potatoes. And if you want to truly stick to the diet, you can replace the higher-glycemic carrots and peas in this dish with lower carb veggies like mushrooms, kale or spinach, or all of the above.
Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from the Food Network)
(Difficulty: Intermediate, Serves: 8-10)
For the Filling:
3-4 lb. organic boneless pork shoulder
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. all purpose seasoning
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. organic broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups organic green peas
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse the pork, pat dry with paper towels and rub in the salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning, and paprika. Set the pork in a roasting pan, scatter the onion over the pork, sprinkle in four cloves of the garlic and add the wine. Cook until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, about 3-4 hours. Add 1 cup of chicken broth every hour to keep the pork moist. Transfer the pork to a platter or cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat. Save the juice from the pan for later.
This would cook really well in a slow cooker, but I left mine in Boston when I moved so I did it the hard way. But either will work!
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the broccoli, carrots, and the rosemary leaves and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and pulled pork and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes more, then stir in the remaining garlic and season with nutmeg. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and the juice from the roasting pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few more minutes while sauce thickens. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large casserole dish.
For the Topping:
4-5 organic parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp. horseradish
3/4 cup milk ( I used unsweetened coconut but any type of milk will work)
3 Tbsp. butter
3-4 Tbsp. chopped organic chives
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 organic egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven broiler and put a rack in the middle of the oven.
Put the parsnips in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, over high heat, then salt the water and cook until the parsnips are tender, 15 minutes or so. Drain and return parsnips to the hot pot. Add the horseradish, milk, butter, chives, salt and pepper, to taste, and mash to desired consistency. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the egg. Top the prepared filling with the mashed parnsips, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and brown under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve.