Primal Shepherd's Pie layered with Mesquite Apples & Mushrooms

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Hello boys and girls! What a wonderful December it has been thus far. Holiday celebrations are in full swing, and the house is full of family, laughter, and... of course, food. As you may have noticed, we love our {home made} treats. Particularly during this time of the year. But we also enjoy making warming hearty meals that the whole family can enjoy after a game of Carcassone.

This Shepherd's pie is a fun take on the traditional recipe, and is sure to be a hit. Instead of peas and corn you will find a caramelized mesquite apple & mushroom layer that adds just a hint of sweetness to the creaminess of the root mash.

Keep in mind, while we are slightly obsessed with butter and whipping cream, and use both in this recipe - if you are avoiding dairy, simply subsitute for coconut oil and coconut milk.

Ok, I'm off to watch some cheesy Christmas movies, drink home made hot chocolate, and cuddle with the puppster (these are some favourite things). What are your favourite holiday family traditions?

Love,

Barbara

TIME: Prep 45 min, Cook 30-35 min

YIELD: serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

2 lb grassfed beef

2 tbsp grassfed butter (or coconut oil if you are avoiding dairy)

1 large onion (or 2 med), chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

4 large local carrots, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste (if you're like me and avoid canned goods, simply deseed a tomato and process with a dash of sea salt)

3/4 c natural beef broth or bone broth

3 cups local apples, peeled and chopped

3 cups organic button mushrooms, chopped

1 free range egg (to brush the mash)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tsp mesquite powder

1 tsp dried red chili flakes

1 1/2 tbsp organic coconut flour

Mash:

2 lbs sweet potatoes (or local white potatoes if you're like me), peeled

2 lbs rutabaga, peeled and chopped

1/2 c organic whole whipping cream (or coconut milk)

4 tbsp grassfed butter

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

PROCESS:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Chop and prepare all ingredients.

3. In a large pan, add the potatoes and rutabaga and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until completely softened (use a knife to determine this - pay attention to the rutabaga specifically as it will take longer). This will will take about 30-40 min, and should be ready by the time all the other filler layers are complete.

4. In a pot, melt 1 tbsp butter, and add onion, garlic, carrot, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook for 10 min, or until vegetables begin to brown slightly.

5. Add tomato paste/puree, and keep cooking for a few minutes. Then add the ground beef. Cook until there is no longer any pink visible.

6. Add bay leaf and beef broth, and simmer on med-high for 10-15 min. At the end of this time, taste the liquid and ensure it is spiced to your tastes. Adjust if necessary.

7. Mix in coconut flour thoroughly until liquid thickens slightly. Tranfer beef filling into a large pyrex pan, and pat down.

8. In a saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter, and add mushrooms and chili flakes. Cook for 3 min, then add apples and mesquite. Cook until slightly caramelized (approx 10 min). Add this layer to the pyrex pan evenly.

9. Transfer the potatoes and rutabaga into a large bowl, and add butter and whipping cream. Use a large fork or spoon to mash them, and then continue the process with hand mixer until smooth.

10. Add mash onto the pyrex pan, and smooth the top. Whip an egg in a bowl, and brush the top. Use a fork to create some ridges so they brown when baking. (Optional: if you eat dairy, this would be the time to sprinkle some whole organic cow/sheep/goat cheese on top. This time, as you can tell from the image we opted not to do so, but feel free!)

11. Bake for 30-35 min, or until very  slightly browned. I recommend placing the pan on a cookie dish in case the liquid drips during baking. Serve while warm!