I wanted to create a new Shepherd's Pie Recipe, one that did not have mashed potatoes on top. We love potatoes of all kinds, but once in a while it is a nice change not having them. With all the lovely winter vegetables we got at the last of the Farmer's Market a while back, this made for a great mashed topping. Full of flavor and nutrients, this was a delicious great alternative to mashed potatoes.
1 lb. anti-biotic/hormone free lean ground beef
a knob of butter
2 large shallots, minced
3 minced garlic cloves
4-5 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 large diced carrots
2 large diced parsnips
about 1 cup diced rutabaga
1 rounded cupful of diced squash (I used Hubbard squash - any would work)
1 tsp. spice blend such as Mrs. Dash - I used this one
salt and pepper
8 brussel sprouts, trimmed outer leaves removed, and cut in half
2/3 - 3/4 cup reserved liquid from the vegetables
1/4 cup butter
Add the vegetables to a pot putting the brussel sprouts on top. Season with salt and pepper and 1 tsp. of Seasoning blend. Add water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, lid on, then reduce to a simmer, cooking until the vegetables are tender, mine took about 18 minutes. Drain the water, reserving about 2/3 of a cup of the liquid for the cornstarch slurry and pan gravy. Remove the brussel sprouts to a bowl and set aside. Then add the butter to the vegetables, and mash well, adjust for seasonings and set aside. When the brussel sprouts have cooled, cut them in half once more and set aside.
Heat up a frying pan on medium heat with a knob of butter. Add in the lean ground beef, stirring to brown about, 10 minutes. I turned down the heat a little bit then move the meat to the edges of the pan, adding in the minced shallot, mushrooms and garlic. Saute about 5-8 more minutes until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are golden. Season with salt and pepper, Thyme, add in the Bay leaf, beef stock and 1/2 a cup of the reserved vegetable liquid. Cover with a lid, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Make a cornstarch slurry with the remainder of the vegetable liquid and slowly drizzle into the beef mixture stirring well until thickened. Remove from the heat, adjust for seasonings and also remove the bay leaf. Transfer the meat and gravy to a casserole dish. Place the sliced brussel sprouts on top of the beef and gravy.
Then spoon on the mashed vegetables, cover with a lid or tinfoil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until heated through.