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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Luck o' the Irish?

Week 2 was a total success! I pretty much repeated the previous week, kept stock of hard boiled eggs and continued experimenting with DIY coconut milk. More on that another time. This post is all about tonight's dinner.

Inspired by the ever-nearing Saint Patrick's Day, I decided to give a Whole30 Shepherd's Pie a whirl.

It was so worth the effort.

I started with my root vegetable mash. A combination of turnip, carrots, cauliflower and garlic covered in cold, salty water and olive oil.

I knew the turnips were ready to be mashed when I could do this with ease.

I reserved about 2 cups of the liquid as I strained the veggies for later use. I mashed the veggies with a standard potato masher, 1/2 cup of ghee (I kind of OD'd on it but just wait) adjusted flavor with salt and pepper as needed and then added some of the reserved liquid back before whipping it with my immersion blender. Heavenly.

Next step was to brown the meat. I used a very unique combination for this shepherd's pie: duck bacon, ground turkey and very lean ground beef. Duck bacon? Why duck bacon (and how weird does that sound)?

Well, as per the guidelines for Whole30 eating, if you can't find good, pastured pork, you're better off eating a different cut of meat. Good pork is surprisingly hard to find! That said, duck bacon is delicious and completely enhances the flavor profile of this dish in a way pork belly bacon couldn't ever do adequately.

I diced up about 4 oz. of duck bacon over low heat to render out as much of the amazeballs fat as I could. I then added my ground meats and raised the heat to medium to cook everything through. Once the meat was cooked, I set it aside. I added 1 tbsp ghee to my enameled cast iron pot and then added leeks, onions, carrots, and salt and pepper. 

Once these were translucent, soft and fragrant, I added some tomato paste and a couple splashes of coconut aminos. I then put the meat mixture back and tossed everything together. I forgot to mention I also added frozen string beans at this point. I then made a slurry of the reserved liquid from the root vegetables and some arrowroot powder. 

I added this to the meat and veggie mixture to create a gravy. Tossed everything around and adjusted seasoning with salt and pepper. 

I then spread the mixture into a glass casserole dish and covered it with the root vegetable mash. 

I popped this in the broiler and watched it attempted to watch it like a hawk. ~10 minutes later, I was lazy and not paying any attention when I started to smell burning. It was, in fact, perfect.

You see, you can only get this effect if you add a shit-ton of butter/ghee/fat to the root vegetable mash. This isn't an every day dish. It's far too elaborate. But I was in a celebratory mood and I've been kicking sugary sweet ass on this diet and this is how I rewarded myself. 

Like I said, totally worth it.

I'll write up the legit recipe tomorrow and add it here. Have a good one!