By Veronia Grengs
It has been almost 4 years since my first (hopefully not last) trip to Ireland. It was one of the best experiences ever and every year when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I flip through my pictures and reminisce. This year, I decided to take on an old classic, The Shepherd’s Pie and in true nutrition student fashion, make it as healthy as possible.
In this recipe, I have highlighted the cauliflower, as it is one of my favorites but also, a big ball of nutritional wealth. This cruciferous vegetable is full of many vitamins and minerals but specifically high in the mighty antioxidant, Vitamin C. Cauliflower also specializes in, “potassium, fiber, and folic acid and contains a sulfur compound called isothiocyanate that protects health and prevents disease” (Stanton, 2006). Benefiting from all that cauliflower has to offer is quite easy as it is amazing in all forms: raw, steamed, and roasted or like in today’s recipe, mashed. Grab a head and get cookin’!
For the mashed cauliflower:
1 Head of cauliflower
Salt to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup of vegetable stock
2 Tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
For the meat filling:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey (I used extra lean)
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup fresh or frozen corn
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Roughly, chop cauliflower and place in a deep pot. Pour in the vegetable stock and enough water to cover the cauliflower. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook until tender then strain all the liquid but do not discard. Return the cauliflower to the stovetop on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Keep covered. This step is to ensure that the cauliflower is not too soggy or else we will not become nice, fluffy mashed cauliflower. When the cauliflower is ready, place in food processor and add the salt, pepper, parsley and just enough of the reserved liquid to ease blending.
While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the filling. Place the olive oil into a sauté pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrots, and sauté just until they begin to take on color. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the turkey, salt and pepper and until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, and Worcestershire. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the corn and peas to the turkey mixture and spread evenly into baking dish. Top with the mashed cauliflower, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the cauliflower begins to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Stanton, M. (2006, January 1). Cauliflower: A Royal Health Boost. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/cauliflower-health-boost
Original recipe adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.html