EAT: Paleo Shepherd’s Pie (Pastel de Papa)

The FIFA soccer games are a pretty big deal in my neck of the woods.  Every bar in town is jam-packed with soccer fans cheering for their favorite teams.  I’m not one of them but lots of my friends are and understand the excitement.

This recipe was inspired by Argentina’s victory against the Netherlands yesterday.  I love “pastel de papa” which is a typical dish in many South American kitchens.  I learned to make this from a friend whose family is from Argentina.  She makes it by layering white mashed potatoes (mashed with milk and tons of butter), ground beef (cooked with onions, garlic, tomato sauce, and a variety of spices), sliced hard-boiled eggs, another layer of white potatoes, and sometimes Parmesan cheese on top.  Sounds delicious, right?  Trust me, it is…but totally not Paleo.

Have I mentioned I have picky eaters at home?  Both my daughter and boyfriend are “steak and potatoes” type people.  They would both be happy with a big ol’ plate of red meat.  Hey, there is NOTHING wrong with that, but sometimes we need some variety.  I’m all about variety in my diet and I’m trying to force encourage them to try new things.  I’ve been pretty successful so far but there are times where they both turn their noses at my ideas (i.e. cauliflower and cabbage are deeply hated by both!)  So this recipe was modified for their palate and they both loved it:

Nathalie’s Shepherd’s Pie (or Pastel De Papa)
2 pounds grass-fed lean ground beef
1-2 whole sweet onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic (I buy the pre-minced garlic and just add about 2-3 tbs)
1 cup of organic marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
Salt, pepper, and any other seasons you love (I used FlavorGod “everything seasoning”)
1 bag of frozen peas, microwavable bag

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbs. grass-fed salted butter
Pinch of cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your sweet potatoes. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until they are tender when poked. Remember, the smaller the cubes the faster they soften.
3. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of your pan with EVOO. Saute your onions for about 1 minute. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another minute. Then add the beef and mix it all together until browned. Salt and season to your desire.
4. Add your marinara sauce and lower the heat to simmer.
5. By now your sweet potatoes should be tender. Drain your sweet potatoes and then begin the mashing process. I love mashing potatoes 🙂
6. Once they are nice and mashed, incorporate your butter and cinnamon.
7. Microwave your peas per packaging instructions.
8. In an oven-safe pan, layer as follows: Ground beef mix, layer of peas, then the mashed sweet potato on top.
9. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
10. Serve and enjoy!

If I were making this for myself only or perhaps as a potluck dish, I would add these variations:

Hard-boiled eggs:
1 cup of cooking wine while cooking the beef (omit if you’re being strict Paleo, Whole30, or 21 Day Sugar Detox)
Handful of golden raisins and olives
3 sliced hard-boiled eggs
Add the golden raisins and olives at the time you add your marinara sauce.
Layer your sliced hard-boiled eggs over the peas (under the sweet potato layer)

Fried eggs on top (“a caballo”):
Instead of the hard-boiled eggs, try it with a fried egg on top of your slice of pie! Everything tastes delicious with a fried egg, right?

Mashed Plantains:
Bottom layer of plantains, then beef, then peas, then hard-boiled eggs, then sweet potatoes. That sounds delicious!

Hope you all enjoy this recipe and will comment if you tried it!

Happy eats!

Nathalie

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