A day for comfort … and joy … and it’s not even Christmas! Today I feel like I’m handing over the gauntlet with one of my favourites, my Paleo Cottage Pie. A much loved family favourite with my special low carb twist. Instead of potatoes the topping is made from a blend of nutty celeriac and nutrient dense cauliflower, so velvety smooth, it melts in the mouth.
You don’t find a lot of celeriac in recipes. With its creamy heart, celeriac is to me, what cream is to strawberries, a match made in heaven. It has an affinity with cauliflower and is my first choice to smother on top of a this delicious Paleo Cottage Pie. That thud you can hear, that’s potato addicts fainting! But trust me, please give this topping a try.
Blitzing it in a Vitamix makes it so creamy and light. If you don’t have a high speed blender, don’t worry you can also use a potato masher. It still tastes great, just not as smooth. The speed of the processor makes it extra buttery without actually needing to add any.
Now all you need is your comfy pants and it’s a pretty good day right?
Serves 4 (makes 1 Paleo Cottage Pie in a 26 x 20 x 6 casserole dish)
- 1kg of beef/ steak mince (organic or grass fed ideally)
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 50g of leek
- 1 red onion (120g), finely diced
- 3 carrots (330g), finely diced
- 2 sticks of celery (180g), finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- 1/4 cup of red wine (optional but adds depth of flavour. Buy organic if you have an issue with sulphites.)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
- 5 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
- 1.25l of stock (beef or chicken)
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the topping
- 1 small cauliflower
- 1/2 a medium celeriac
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of Salt
Place the 1.25l of stock on a medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the volume reduces by almost a half. (You should be left with about 800ml.) This concentrates the stock and makes the Paleo Cottage Pie really tasty.
Meanwhile, add the mince to a non stick frying pan and fry for about 8 minutes until brown. You may need to do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough. Break up the mince with a spatular so there’s no large chunks. Take off the heat, drain the juices and place to one side.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in another pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook on a low/ medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the leek and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Return the beef to the pan of vegetables. Add the coconut aminos, garlic, tomato puree, sun dried tomatoes, a pinch of pepper and fry for 3 more minutes.
Add the red wine and herbs and allow to simmer for 1 minute.
Add the concentrated 800ml of stock and simmer on a medium heat, uncovered for 25 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Whilst the mince is concentrating, crack on with the cauliflower and celeriac top.
Peel the celeriac and remove the stalk and leaves form the cauliflower. Chop both into chunks about 3 cm in diameter.
Heat a pan of boiling water on the hob, add the cauliflower and celeriac and simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Drain the water and place back on the heat for 1 minute to dry off. This is important or you’ll end up with soup!
Place the cooked cauliflower and celeriac in a Vitamix or high speed food processor equivalent and blitz for 5 – 8 seconds until smooth. Careful not to puree to much. Place back in the pan, season with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Option to add butter if you prefer.
By now the mince should be coated in a nice thick gravy. If to dry and a touch more stock, if still to much liquid, turn up the heat slightly. Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and any thyme stalks.
Pour the beef mince into a casserole dish (26 x 20 x 6), smooth to the edges and top with your low carb mash. Level with a spatular and then score with a fork (this makes it pretty.)
Brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Option to place under the grill for the last 5 minutes to brown on top.