I did the same thing when I was dating a vegetarian, only this is way better. WAY WAY BETTER. (Not just because of the food, but that's not the point of this post.)
It's just... you don't get much bacon in a vegetarian household. And I'm not okay with that.
Anyway, what this all means is that I've had to adapt some of my old favorites to fit the Paleo profile a little better. Jason's okay with not eating strictly Paleo, which is good, because butter is not Paleo, but there's really no substitute. Olive oil will work for most things, but there are some things where only butter will do.
I like butter a lot.
One of my favorite adaptations is my Paleo shepherd's pie. It's way better than the vegetarian version I tried to make once. I mean... come on. Shepherd's pie. 'Shepherd' as in 'herd of sheep = mutton on the hoof.' IT HAS TO HAVE MEAT. IT JUST DOES.
So anyway. Start with some kind of ground meat and a chopped onion. This version was made with ground turkey, but seriously, any kind of ground animal will work. You'll also use a small can of tomato sauce and one of those wee tiny cans of tomato paste, just not right away. They just bombed this photo, that's all. (The papaya and the avocado bombed it too, but they're not involved tonight so please to ignore.)
|Chop chop. Love that knife. Hate the chopping board. IT SCOOTS. THIS IS NOT OKAY.|
Brown them together in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
|Ground turkey looks gross until it's cooked. I mean really.|
Gather whatever frozen vegetables you have on hand (use fresh if you want, but make sure you chop them up small. Big chunks are obnoxious in shepherd's pie). I usually put in about a pound's worth, using whatever I have on hand. Tonight I used half a package each of frozen spinach and peas-and-carrots. (The peas are an example of not-strictly-Paleo, which is why I said you can use whatever.)
|If you don't have out-of-focus ones, that's okay. In-focus vegetables work too.|
Use whatever spices and seasonings you want. I don't like a lot of "heat" (I hate that word) so I use milder things. Black pepper, ground mustard, paprika, chili powder. And dried thyme.
|I love this picture. It's very 2001: A Space Odyssey. It needs a dramatic musical score or something.|
Hey, wanna see our spice rack?
|Yeah, it's pretty awesome.|
Once the meat and onions are thoroughly cooked, dump in the tomato sauce and paste, the veggies, and the seasonings. Stir it up and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.
|Hot mess, kiddos. Delicious, hot mess.|
Now, the crowning glory (kind of literally). I actually start the topping first, but I wanted to save it because this, my friends, is what separates traditional shepherd's pie from my beloved Paleo version.
|OM NOM NOM NOM NOM|
Where the potatoes would go, use parsnips instead. GENIUS. Proceed just as you would for making mashed potatoes--give them a rough chop, cover them in water, and boil until they're soft and easily pierced with a fork. If you start boiling them first, by the time the hot mess is simmering, they'll be about ready to mash. I always put a bit of butter and a crapload of garlic in them (cheater garlic in a jar FTW), along with some salt and pepper.
|No, the pan's not dirty, that's just pepper stuck in the starch from the boiling water. IGNORE IT.|
Oh, and about that mashing? Old-school masher, all the way. Don't you dare use an electric beater. It's not necessary and it ruins the texture.
|I'M SERIOUS. NO MIXERS.|
Put the hot mess in a baking dish and top it with the mashed awesome.
|So close, kittens. So very close.|
Bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or so, just enough to slightly brown the parsnips and let the flavors blend. THEN DIG IN.
|Yes, there are only two of us. Why do you ask?|
So there it is! Sunday night dinner. Comfort food. Leftovers. Easy to make and very good for you. Who needs a box dinner full of crap and science? We don't, and neither do you.