Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I know it’s not technically until tomorrow, but with all of the festivities going on this weekend, the holiday is really more than just one day long. And what better way to celebrate than with a delicious Guinness Cottage Pie?
Since going Nightshade Free, I’ll be honest, I miss mashed potatoes. Smothered in gravy and butter… fluffy and filling… and Cottage Pie was definitely missing from my dinners! Luckily, with the cauliflower mash in this recipe, I don’t miss those potatoes at all.
Cauliflower has been a bit of a learning curve for me. It definitely doesn’t taste like EXACTLY LIKE mashed potatoes, and anyone who says so is a big fat liar. I also have weird texture issues when it comes to broccoli, and that extends itself to raw cauliflower. Dress it up and take it out, but once a weird tree-looking veggie, always a weird tree-looking veggie!
Look at it. All branchy. Like a tree. Imposter.
The good thing is that this Cottage Pie is full of flavour, and so gosh darn satisfying! I don’t miss the potatoes at all! In my opinion, the cauliflower mash should be embraced as if it has always belonged on top of this meaty confection! And the Guinness? Well, it makes it go down even smoother!
You are for sure going to enjoy every bite of this!
The first thing you want to do it start your cauliflower mash. Cut up your head of cauliflower and wash it.
Add about an inch of water to the bottom of a pot, and toss the cauliflower in, turning the heat to medium. Make sure that you cover the pot! We want to steam rather than boil it. Cauliflower works best as ‘mash’ when it stays as dry as possible. I find that this will take about 20 minutes, so that gives you lots of time to prepare the rest. Just keep an eye on it because you don’t want it to boil dry. With the lid on, it shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s happened before!
Now the yummy part! Your Guinness gravy… sauce… reduction? There must be some fancy cooking word for what I’m about to do, but all I really need to know is that it tastes good! Also in good news, I may have found a chili pepper free Worcestershire Sauce here in the States! WOOHOO! I’m using the Heinz brand. The only suspicious thing on the label is ‘natural flavourings’, but they include all of the other spices used. Mr. Nomato braved it Benadryl free and didn’t get sick, so there is hope!
Anyway, open a bottle of Guinness and pour 1 cup of it into a small saucepan on the stove. The rest of the bottle is for you, Happy St. Paddy’s! Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix with a spoon until they’re completely combined. Turn the heat onto medium, and get a good boil going. You want to cook it until it’s thickened, about the consistency of thin gravy.
The temperature of this once it’s done really doesn’t matter, so if you find it gets saucy quickly, you can just turn the heat off and remove it from the stove while you do the rest. In my experience it takes about 10-15 minutes.
By the way, I’ve always called this a Shepherd’s Pie… apparently that is wrong! Cottage Pie uses beef, and shepherd’s pie uses mutton. In retrospect it makes sense, and I don’t know why I never realized this before! You live and you learn, eh?
Now we’re onto the filling of the pie. Brown your ground beef in a frying pan, and chop up all your veggies. Once the beef is completely browned, drain it and set it aside.
Now your onions, mushrooms, cook until soft in the frying pan (and a little brown on the edges!).
Then add the rest of your vegetables to the pan. Honestly, I just use frozen vegetable mix here. I keep a couple different bags in the fridge because I like to add as many vegetables as possible to whatever I’m making, and frozen veggies are the most cost efficient way to do that in my house! This mix was perfect, and included corn, peas, lima beans, green beans, and carrots.
Once those are cooked through, add the ground beef back into the frying pan, and mix all your veggies and meat together.
By now your Guinness sauce should be nice and reduced, so toss that onto the pile too and just mix it all together. Cook a little bit longer, about 3 minutes just to make sure all the sauce is mixed in.
Once that’s done, remove from heat and add to the bottom of your baking dish. Preheat your oven to 350°.
Now for the mash! By now your cauliflower should look almost translucent, and be speared very easily with a fork. Like butter.
Add your sour cream, 1 tbsp of Parmesan cheese and butter (because if anything can make anything taste delicious and creamy, it’s those three things!). You don’t have to add them, you can just put milk if you want, but I find the tangy sour cream adds a nice kick! Now the fun part, mash! Make sure all the lumps are gone. You can use a potato masher or fork, but you should be able to make it similar to mashed potatoes.
When that’s done, spoon it right on top of the beef/veggie mix in your pan.
And because you’re an animal like me, sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and some black pepper.
Stick ‘er in the oven. Cook it about 25 minutes, or until the top looks nice and brown around the edges.
Let it sit for at least 5 minutes so all the juices can percolate and then serve!
- 1 cup Guinness brand beer (OR other stout beer)
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (I used Heinz brand with no ill effects, or this recipe for NS Free homemade sauce from Paleotable: http://paleotable.com/2012/11/paleo-worcestershire-sauce/)
- 2 cups (~ 1lb) ground beef
- 1 onion
- 8 oz . mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups frozen vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, lima beans and green beans)
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp sour cream OR milk
- 1 tbsp butter OR margarine
- 1 tsp + 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- dash of pepper
*This seems like a lot of steps – more than I usually have, however it is all pretty intuitive. You want to cook everything before you bake it in the oven to achieve the best (and safest) results.
Wash and cut up cauliflower head.
Steam your Cauliflower: Add 1 inch water to the bottom of large pot with lid, add cauliflower to the pot and cover. Set to med-high heat until boiling, and then turn it to med-low until cauliflower is soft and easily speared with a fork (about 20 minutes).
Make your Guinness Sauce: Mix 1 cup Guinness and 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer until thickened to the consistency of thin gravy (10-15 minutes).
Make your Meat and Vegetable Filling: Brown ground beef in a frying pan. Drain and set aside.
Cook onion and mushrooms in frying pan until soft and slightly brown.
Add frozen vegetables to frying pan with onion and mushrooms and cook until soft.
Add the ground beef back into the frying pan with the vegetables and mix.
Pour the thickened Guinness and Worcestershire sauce over the meat and vegetables, and mix thoroughly. Cook for another 2 minutes in the frying pan.
Pour mixture into appropriately sized baking dish, making sure to leave room for your cauliflower mash.
Preheat oven to 350°.
When cauliflower is done, drain remaining water. Add sour cream, butter and 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese to the pot and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add to baking dish over meat and vegetables, and smooth.
OPTIONAL: sprinkle 1 tsp Parmesan cheese and pepper over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is brown on the edges.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!