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This is it. Look no further, because you’ve found it. What is “it” exactly? It’s the epitome of amazing Irish comfort food: Shepherd’s Pie. There’s absolutely nothing like the hot, silky, herbed texture of ground beef and vegetables underneath the creamy texture of parsnips and cauliflower. You don’t even need a fork to eat this—just a spoon and a bowl. And when it’s chilly outside (even if “chilly” means 60 degrees where you live), Shepherd’s Pie is just . . . perfect. Wrap yourself in a wool sweater, close your eyes, and smell.
Did I mention that this is like, ridiculously easy to prep and cook? It’s pretty much foolproof: puree cauliflower and parsnips and bake over a saute of vegetables, beef, and broth. That’s pretty much it. Plus, this recipe serves 8 people. It’s party food, it’s movie night food—and it’s definitely St. Patrick’s Day food. But if you’re not having a party, definitely have some freezer bags or Tupperware on hand because you’re gonna have leftovers.
A few notes. Traditionally, this recipe is served with mashed potatoes on top, which you can absolutely do, but for this recipe I’ve created a mash of parsnips and cauliflower—it’s more nutritious than plain mashed potatoes, and even more tasty (in my opinion).
As far as sides go—who needs ’em! Seriously, this is the perfect one-dish meal for a night in, a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, you name it. Drink pairings? It pairs very well with a deep-flavored red wine (like a heavy, earthy cabernet). If you’re looking for delicious low-alcohol, low-sugar wine, I highly recommend checking out Dry Farm Wines. They’ve been my go-to for wine for years.
You can even change the flavor of the Shepherd’s pie completely. If you want it to be more earthy and rustic, try substituting a cup of red wine for the bone or beef broth in the original recipe. You can also try using leeks instead of celery, and turnips in place of carrots, which will add to the complex, deep flavor. You can change up the herb mixture, too. I love rosemary and parsley, but feel free to swap one or both out for thyme, sage, or a favorite herb. There are tons of possibilities for changing the flavors in Shepherd’s Pie, it’s so simple and versatile in that way. Just make sure you’re fairly generous with the freshly cracked black pepper—it will add just the right amount of pop to all of those smooth, creamy flavors.
If you do want to dress up your Shepherd’s Pie a little, you could serve it with a simple side vegetable: peas, steamed carrots, leeks, or finely shredded and sauteed cabbage or kale. Here are a few of my original tried-and-true sides that would pair well:
I also highly recommend serving Shepherd’s Pie with some toasted paleo bread. This dish is so delicious, and you’re going to want to sop up every bit of it. Last, if you are looking for a topping, try a little bit of tomato sauce or even some mustard. Tomato sauce will give your pie a kick of sweetness, and mustard will give the dish a touch of heat, if you’re looking for it.
If you have a tip that I haven’t mentioned here—let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re looking for a way to save on time with this one, look no further than the Instant Pot. Did I mention that this recipe adapts to Instant Pot cooking like they were made for each other? Seriously, it’s so easy. Sign up below to get Instant Pot recipes for Shepherd’s Pie and Corned Beef and Cabbage delivered straight to your inbox!
Civilized Caveman Shepherd's Pie
Yield 8 servings
- 1 tbsp bacon grease or olive oil
- 1 lb grass fed ground beef
- 3 carrots (1 cup), diced
- 3 stalks celery (1 cup), diced
- 1 small yellow onion (1 cup) finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup bone or beef broth
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lb (1 1⁄2 cups) parsnips, peeled & trimmed *you can use all parsnips, but will be very sweet!
- 1 1⁄2 cups cauliflower florets * used to cut the sweetness. (You can also use white potato.)
- 1/2 3⁄4 cup cashew milk (or milk of choice)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Finely chopped rosemary & parsley, to garnish
For the parsnips:
Place parsnips & cauliflower in a steamer basket over water and steam for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
Add to the bottom of a high powered blender or food processor, pour in 1⁄2 cup milk, blend, add more milk if needed, and puree until completely smooth.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
For the beef mixture & pie:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat bacon grease or oil in a large cast iron skillet or oven safe frying pan over
medium/high heat (*9-10 inches).
Add carrots and celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add onion and continue to saute until
softened. About 3-5 minutes.
Add ground beef to the pan, breaking up into small pieces, and saute with other veggies
until the beef is brown. Stir in garlic until fragrant. About 1 minute.
Pour in beef broth, loosening any browned bits on the pan, sprinkle in salt and pepper, stir, then simmer until the liquid has reduced by a little over half. Stir in rosemary & parsley.
Smooth parsnip mixture over the top of the beef mixture.
Place pan on a large cookie sheet (in case it bubbles over) and bake until bubbling and
lightly browned. About 15-20 mins.
Remove from oven, sprinkle w/ chopped herbs, and allow to cool slightly before serving.
St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!
So, St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and if you love corned beef or shepherd’s pie as much as I do, you know they’re reason enough for celebrating. Recently, I’ve become a big fan of using the Instant Pot to cook them, and I’d love to share both recipes with you. Just enter your email address below to get them in your inbox . . . instantly! (See what I did there?)
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