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Buying a whole butternut is a big commitment. I hate, deeply hate, when food gets wasted. When I buy a butternut pumpkin, we’re going to eat the whole thing. Whether we like it or not. So my challenge is to find ways to use some core ingredients over and over in a week but produce dishes with different flavors. (Part of a larger quest to find 31 great meals for each season on the year.)
This week’s core ingredients: Butternut Pumpkin and Broccoli
Meal #1: Coconut Quinoa Bean & Veg Casserole
Meal #2: is one of my childhood favorites: Shepherd’s Pie! My Granny made the most amazing Shepherd’s Pie. I have wonderful childhood memories of her delicious creamy potatoes and savory meat on cold winter nights. She, of course, used farm-woman ingredients: butter and cream. And to be honest I’ve been wary of trying substitutes.
One of my dearest friends in the world once gave me very good advice about becoming gluten-free: Don’t try to make things you love. They won’t taste right. Go for new recipes that you don’t know with gluten. Then you won’t be disappointed in the taste. She’s not wrong. My favorite recipes done with gluten and dairy substitutes were very disappointing.
But Shepherd’s Pie has kept nagging me. It’s the perfect dish for jam-packing with extra veggies and nutrient sources. And I really miss warm delicious comfort foods. So I went for it. No dairy. No gluten. No canned. No tomatoes. But it still had a rich, bold flavor thanks to the help of GF Worcestershire Sauce in the meat sauce and a well seasoned potato topping. This is a delicious casserole! We had seconds. And then thirds. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a meal that was so enjoyable. The kids also loved it. Total shock. I am so happy. Hurray!! Also, this is another recipe that be altered for each season by using seasonal veggies. (Note: Yesterday my doc advised I drop nightshades from my diet too. So my next Shepherd’s Pie experiment will be to use cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes for the topping. Stay tuned…)
BUTTERNUT & BROCCOLI SHEPHERD’S PIE
GF | DF | SF | MF
– 1 lb ground beef (or your fav ground meat) – 2 to 3C peeled & chopped butternut
– 2C chopped broccoli trunk, stems & florets – 1 onion chopped
– 1 clove garlic, crushed – Salt & Pepper to taste
– 1T GF Worcestershire Sauce – 1C beef stock (or veg stock)
– Your fav combo of seasonings: thyme, italian, TJs 21 Seasoning Salute, etc. etc.
– 1T cornstarch (or 2tsp arrowroot if you want to avoid corn) & a 1T cool water
– Up to 1lb russet potatoes – (Optional) 1/2C Goat Yogurt
– Your fav milk sub (almond, coconut etc.) – Salt & pepper to taste
– 1/2tsp nutmeg or paprika
1. Peel and chop potatoes into quarters or eighths. Cook in salted boiling water until soft (typically about 15 – 25 minutes.)
2. While potatoes are cooking, brown ground meat until just browned. Add veggies and cook, stirring regularly, until onion and butternut start to caramelize.
3. Add garlic, GF Worcestershire Sauce, salt & pepper, and seasonings. Taste and then season more if necessary. The level of season is very personal so be confident to taste and adjust! You know what you like. Go for it.
4. Combine cornstarch with some water to make a slurry. Add beef stock to meat & veggies. 5. Grease a large casserole dish with whatever you like. My fav is Trader Joe’s Coconut Spray.
6. Mash potatoes. (Optional: add goat yogurt.) Add milk substitute a quarter cup at a time until creamy consistency is achieved. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add nutmeg or paprika. I personally like nutmeg with butternut.
7. Put meat mixture in casserole. Spread top with mashed potatoes.
8. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. (Optional: place under broiler to brown the top of the potatoes.) The meat and veggies are already fully cooked so this step is just to allow flavors to develop.
Amazingly, we have more butternut and broccoli so stay tuned for meal #3!