If you've been reading for a while, by now you know that my boys are picky eaters. Yep, they rank up there right alongside the most turned-up of noses. Getting them to eat their greens can be a challenge and so when a vegetable dish makes it past the ever-dubious first glance and that cautious initial bite, it is well worth a mention here. Hence this veggie-laden Shepherd's Pie.
The traditional - and beloved by all children - topping of mashed potato I replaced with a fluffy cauliflower puree and no one suspected a thing. Imagine!
I wouldn't label myself as a sneaky cook. I don't go to great lengths to disguise vegetables, but if it just so happens that I bring healthy ingredients together and give the illusion of something entirely different, I'm going to sit back with a smile on my face and watch the children devour seconds.
On another note, we're really enjoying our beef and the Beef Chronicles. If you're new to UtHC, here's the background to the Chronicles in a nutshell...
This past summer we visited a local organic farm and bought a cow - calf-, well, a yearling Black Angus. Inspired by a dozen or so beautiful cuts of beef in my freezer, I started the Beef Chronicles as a tribute to the young cow and as an exercise to try new recipes and blog about main dishes more often. Here is the complete introduction to the Chronicles and a more elaborate explanation of the project.
Recipes that I have made so far are linked at the bottom of the post.
Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Puree
2 lbs ground beef, or a mixture of ground beef and veal
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, de-germed and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 large Cauliflower
2 tablespoons cream
3 cups sweet corn, fresh if possible
paprika, to garnish
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened, about three minutes. Add beef or veal and gently sear the meat all over, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon. Add chopped garlic, cumin, oregano, tomato, vinegar and combine well. Cook for ten minutes on medium, stirring often, until evenly browned. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil while you cut the cauliflower into large florets. Season water with salt and blanch cauliflower until quite soft. Drain. Puree cauliflower in a blender until smooth, adding a little cream to assist in the process. Season with salt and pepper and a fine grating of nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a casserole dish, spread beef mixture evenly over the bottom. Scatter corn kernels over the meat. Using a flexible spatula, spread cauliflower puree over the top of everything. Smooth to cover. Dust with paprika and bake 30- 40 minutes until heated through.
Dot with butter and serve. To your kids.
More Beef Chronicles:
In Which we Buy A Cow
Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter
Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone
Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps
Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda
Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries