Tourtière-Inspired Shepherd’s Pie

February 10, 2012 in Categories: by

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Shepherds Pie-072

Tourtière is a French Canadian meat pie that my mom used to make when I was a girl.  It is traditionally made with ground pork, but over the years I’ve experimented with different combinations of meat.  I really like to use half poultry (chicken or turkey) and half red meat (for the one in the photo, I used a combination of pork and grass-fed bison, but this would be a great place to break out the grass-fed beef!).  The idea for turning what is supposed to be the meat pie filling into the base of a Shepherd’s Pie was borne out of my avoidance of nuts (and most paleo pie crusts are almond flour based).  It creates a truly delicious and comforting dish, perfect for a dreary winter day! 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Shepherds Pie-033

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients (base):

  • 4 lbs ground meat (try half poultry and half red meat)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 generous sprig of fresh rosemary (think 2-3 Tbsp)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste

1.    Brown the meat with onions, celery, rosemary and bay leaves in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Don’t drain the fat off the meat (But, if using a combination of conventional and grass-fed meat, you could brown the conventional meat first, drain the fat, then add the grass-fed meat). 
2.    Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms and celery are nice and soft, stirring occasionally, probably an extra 10-15 minutes after the meat is fully cooked.
3.    Add the salt to taste.  Add the arrowroot powder, stir in well, cook for 3-4 minutes then remove from heat.
4.    Remove the bay leaves and stem from the rosemary, Pour all of the meat mixture into a 9”x13” deep casserole dish or lasagna pan.  Pat down well with the back of a spoon or metal spatula.

Ingredients (top):

  • 1½ heads of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp of grass-fed butter or tallow (you could use coconut oil too)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste

1.    Steam cauliflower in a large pot with about an inch of salted water in the bottom.  Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
2.    Drain cauliflower completely.  Return to pot and blend with an immersion blender or mash very well with a potato masher. 
3.    Add cooking fat, garlic powder and salt and stir to combine. 

To Assemble:

1.    Preheat oven to 375F.
2.    Spread cauliflower mix evenly over the meat layer in the casserole dish.
3.    Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cauliflower is starting to brown and bubble around the sides. 
4.    Let rest for 10 minutes before eating.

Shepherds Pie-013 copy


Just stumbled across your site while looking for family friendly paleo meals. This was delicious. Thanks for the idea.

This looks really yummy! May I ask about your avoidance of nuts? I don’t know a lot about the good fats/bad fats/omega 3/PUFA stuff, but I’m been sad to read that I may not should be making things out of almond flour like I thought I could. 🙁

Do you think that this would make a good freezer meal? I am looking for some stuff to make for the freezer for after my baby is born.

this looks delicious..was wondering..what does the arrowroot powder do in this recipe.can i substitute any other powder or gluten free flour? thank you

If you call it shepherd’s pie, it HAS to have lamb! Or y’know… Sheep! A shepherd doesn’t herd cows or chickens. Sorry… Pet peeve. Looks delicious, and love your recipes, this is just like nails on a chalkboard for me.

I made this (minus the celery) and it was delicious. This may actually be the dish that converts my husband. In answer to the previous poster, it freezes beautifully =)
Thank you for all your amazing recipes

Please call this a cottage pie! Too many people refer to anything with a mash on top as shepherds pie and unless there’s lamb inside, it’s NOT shepherds pie!

What is odd about your recipe is the seasonings. All the recipes for tourtieret hat I haveand use feature savory, celery seed, and cloves, and that to me is what makes tourtiere distinct.

Made this for supper, but with a twist. The Tourtiere that I’m used to has cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg added to the meat. I didn’t know if my husband would like that so I made the meat the same as your recipe, but I used mashed sweet potatoes for the topping (i was out of cauliflower so I improvised) and since sweet potatoes are amazing with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, I spiced up the mashed with a little of each and put it on top! IT WAS AMAZiNG! It gave it that traditional flavor that I’m used to in Tourtiere!

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