Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pie for Dinner

It even looks cuddly.

This meal is comfort.  It's your favorite hoodie, your fuzziest socks, your most comfy quilt.  It's been a couple of weeks since I made this and just thinking about it I have the urge to snuggle down with a hot cup of tea and lots of blankets and books.

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan is a great cookbook.  I love that she is all about buying and prepping food ahead, and that she thinks a lot like I do when it comes to food combining.  I squealed with excitement when I saw that there is a section in the book that's just ideas for combining veggies and protein!  I day dream about different combinations, and this book came at a time when I was ready for some new thoughts and inspiration.  She also loves Eastern European food.  In my opinion, that's the most comforting cuisine and is closest to how I define the food I grew up eating.  I heart cabbage.
And, she's a huge fan of Penzey's Spices.
I do believe Ms. Joulwan and I could be friends.  
Her book also has pretty pictures and places for you to take your own notes! And I love the paper it's printed on.  You should buy it.  I bought it when Amazon sucked me into their free shipping with $35 (although that used to be $25, didn't it?) and so I had to buy something else to get the free shipping.  Silly, but you've all done it too, right?

Shepard's Pie is a recipe from Well Fed.  She uses ground lamb, but I went with beef, making this Cottage Pie instead.  I followed her directions for the most part, adding more of this, less of that, making it work for us, but the base of this is not my recipe, however, it's so good that it needs to be shared in as many mediums as possible.

First of all, the mashed cauliflower is like... I really, I don't have words.  It's the mashed cauliflower recipe you only wished existed.  And it's forgiving.  I've made it a few times now, and I don't measure anything, and it always works.  You'll need one batch of this for the pie, so once it's made, just set it aside until needed.

1 large bag of frozen cauliflower
1 garlic clove, crushed (I use more)
1 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
chives if you wish

Cook the cauliflower according to the package- I chose to steam/saute it with some chicken stock- until it's soft, but not overly cooked.  Drain any extra liquid and transfer to a food processor.  In a small pot, combine the oil, milk, garlic, salt and pepper, and heat it through a bit before adding it to the cauliflower and processing it all together until smooth.  Add in chives and give a bit of a pulse to combine, or just use them as a garnish. 

You can get the rest of the dish moving while your cauliflower is cooking.

1 heaping TBSP of coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced- I just used a handful of shredded carrots
2 cloves of garlic (I used more)
2 pounds of grass fed ground beef
1 TBSP tomato paste- I think I used just a little more
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1 tsp coconut aminos (I'd say I went 2 tsp, you could use Tamari or even soy sauce if you wish)
1 tsp dried rosemary (I definitely used more)
1/2 tsp dried thyme (I used a bit more)
3 egg whites
paprika to garnish- I omitted this as I'd already thrown in a bit of nightshade action with the tomato paste.

Oven will need to be preheated to 400 degrees.

Heat a large skillet and add the coconut oil.  Once it's melted, add the onion and carrot, salt and pepper, cover and allow to get soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the beef (or lamb if you choose) and break it up into small pieces and cook until thoroughly done and browned.
Melissa doesn't suggest doing this, and maybe with lamb it's not needed, but I found it necessary to drain off the excess grease.  I used 85% lean, so I had some fat needing drained.  I use the method my dad always used... you lean the pan and push the food to the upper side allowing the grease to fall, then spoon it out.
Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Add tomato paste, stock, coconut aminos, rosemary, and thyme to the pan.  Stir to combine and allow it some time to cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Set the pan aside and allow to cool a little, around 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Beat the 3 egg whites until frothy and stir into the meat mixture.


You'll need a large casserole.  Spread the meat mixture evenly, and then pour out the mashed cauliflower on top.  Carefully.  Then spread it with a very light hand evenly on top of the meat.  Then, gently drag the tongs of a fork across to make criss crosses so it looks all pretty.  Sprinkle with paprika if you like.  Bake for 30 minutes or so, and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Kale on the side was perfect. 

So, that's it.  The ultimate comfort food.  When you're feeling all nesting like, make this.  And even though it's really quite easy, it tastes complicated and special enough that I'd make it for guests too- as long as they don't mind if it's a yoga pants and fuzzy socks kind of get together.



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