It’s March which means I start craving Irish comfort food: Corned Beef and Cabbage, stews and of course, Shepherd’s Pie. And the amazing thing is that all three of these staples are keto convertible so you can celebrate without the carbs!!
Now I need to address something when it comes to Shepherd’s Pie. To be legit it must be made with lamb. I understand not everyone loves lamb like I do and that is totally fine. You can absolutely replace the lamb for ground beef or chicken or pork. Whatever you fancy. But if you do, you cannot call it Shepherd’s Pie. Instead, it is known as Cottage Pie. You can still follow the same directions for a Cottage Pie. The important thing is that you are making a freaking amazing meat pie. Ok, lesson over. Byeeee!
For a Keto Shepherd’s Pie, we are going to use mashed cauliflower instead of the potatoes. Also, I love peas in my pie. Peas do have a higher carb count that my usual go to keto veggies with 21g per cup. But they have 8.3g of fiber netting just 12.7g and keep in mind, this recipe makes 4-6 servings so it does cut those carbs down. However, you could always take the peas out and still have a fantastic dinner with even lower carbs. Even though this recipe does have a higher carb count overall for Keto and is almost a cheat meal, I will promise you that it is absolutely worth it!! But I really don’t want to delay these instructions any longer because you really want this on your fork asap.
For the cauliflower mashers:
2 cups cauliflower florets
4 tbsp. butter (preferably Kerry Gold or other Irish style)
1/4 cup heavy cream
7 oz White Cheddar (preferably Irish), shredded
1/2 tsp salt (plus generous pinch for boiling water)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp. chives, chopped (optional)
For the lamb meat sauce:
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Maggi Jugo Seasoning Sauce
1 tbsp. rosemary, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. almond flour
2 cups beef broth
Salt and black pepper to taste, optional
10 oz bag frozen peas
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook for at least 12 minutes or until a fork slides easily into one of the florets.
Drain the cauliflower and place back into the pot. Begin mashing the cauliflower until desired consistency. I like mine to have no lumps. Add butter and mash. Whip the egg and cream together in a small bowl, then add and mash until mixed well and creamy.
Add half of the cheese and mash into the cauliflower. Add the salt and white pepper and chives and mix well. By this point, these mashers were sooooooo good–creamy, fluffy, cheesy. I had to force myself to PUT the SPOON DOWN! It was near impossible.
Fill a piping bag or plastic bag with the mashed cauliflower. I am not fancy enough to own a piping bag so the plastic bag worked just fine!
Now let’s make us some meat sauce:
Fill a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is my fave) and heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. Add ground lamb. Cook, breaking up the meat until browned and cooked through. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add carrots and cook another 3 minutes.
Turn heat down to low. Make a space in the pan. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Let them cook for a minute then stir into the lamb and veggies. Add the herbs and mix well. Add Worcestershire and Jugo and stir. If you haven’t heard of or used Jugo seasoning sauce, I highly recommend it. Especially if you don’t cook with alcohol. It gives the meat a burst of flavor. A little goes a long way so don’t go crazy with it. You can usually find it in the international food isle. Add almond flour, stir well and cook for about a minute. Then add the beef stock. This will seem like a lot of liquid but we are going to cook this down so don’t fret. Use the spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is reduced and you can drag a spoon along the bottom of the pan, leaving a space. Remove from heat. Give the sauce a taste. Add a little salt and pepper if needed. But you have a lot of salty ingredients so you may not need any further seasoning at this point I did not.
While the sauce is reducing, cook the frozen peas according to the package directions and drain.
Grab a pie pan and fill the bottom with the meat sauce. Top with an even layer of the peas. Then, using your piping bag or plastic bag with a corner cut away, evenly pipe the mashed cauliflower all over the top. Use a spatula to even out the mashers. Then take a fork and make little divots all around the top of the cauliflower. Not only will this be delicious but also so pretty!
Place on sheet pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remainder of the cheese. I added a sprinkling of chopped chives but that is totally optional.
Return to oven and cook an additional 10 minutes. Turn the heat to broil and cook 3 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
I was beyond happy with the way this turned out! The top was crispy and the mashers were rich and fluffy and the meat sauce was completely decedent. The peas added a layer of brightness to the dish so they are really great in there.