My AIP Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy leeks is LAMBTASTIC!
I first published this recipe back in August 2015, after what shall now be forever known as the great ‘Green and Gold Rice’ incident – my attempted take on an Aussie-themed cauliflower rice recipe. In the week following, I had received three phone calls from across the ditch in New Zealand suggesting that I had somehow jinxed the All Blacks into a rare loss against the Wallabies for the first time since 2011. Apparently, I achieved this feat by sacrilegiously preparing a dish that recognised Australia (as opposed to my native New Zealand). It was made very clear to me that the expectation was that I would not repeat my mistake a second time.
So, for the second and final Bledisloe test that year, I went for the safe option. I made my Jamie Oliver Inspired SUBLIME Four Hour Lamb. It’s a favourite on the blog.
What could be more Kiwi than lamb?
And, in the unlikely event that my kitchen endeavours in any way influenced the boys in black, it worked. The All Blacks prevailed. The Cup stayed in New Zealand for another year. As it has in the four years since.
But, it must be said that the Aussies beat us in the netball. You can’t have everything.
But, what happens when you have lots of lovely leftover slow-cooked lamb?
Slow-cooking a joint of some description is at least a weekly occurrence here at mine. I’ve even been known to squeeze two shoulders of lamb into my beloved le Creuset at the same time… The shredded leftover meat can be added to soups, sautéed in a hash with leftover roasted veggies and added to tacos with smashed avocado and slaw.
It might not be fashionable, but I’m a fan of Delia’s. She makes cooking accessible and her recipes work. Always.
Trouble is, they’re not exactly AIP-friendly.
Delia’s Shepherd’s Pie has been a particular favourite of my friend, Sally’s, for ages. She used to tell me I “chopped the vegetables with love” when I made it for her. I think that translated as I chopped the veggies into such teeny-tiny pieces she could barely notice them!
Any-who, since I had all that lovely shredded lamb leftover from Saturday’s meal, I got a little creative in the kitchen on the following Sunday and whipped up my version of Delia’s Shepherd’s Pie. It’s pretty damn good. So good it’s often requested. And it’s 100% AIP-friendly, too.
I tend to use the shredded lamb and gravy leftover from a slow-cooked lamb number. If you don’t happen to have any leftover meat or gravy, the same amount of freshly ground lamb mince and bone broth will work, too. You’ll just need to cook the meat mixture a little longer – say, 15 minutes, or so.
What always elevated Delia’s recipe was the cheese crusted leeks on top of her pie. Of course, cheese is not an option on AIP, so I sub’ in a completely optional sprinkle of nutritional yeast. It gives the almost-illusion of ‘cheesiness’ to the dish. Good for increasing your B vitamin intake, too.
Since I first made this all those years ago now, it has become a favourite around here – for both AIPers and AIP muggles alike. I hope you love it, too.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and lovingly chopped into teeny-tiny dice
- 1 swede, peeled and lovingly chopped into teeny-tiny dice
- 450 g shredded cooked lamb (or the equivalent in fresh ground lamb mince)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 300 mls leftover gravy (or the equivalent in fresh bone broth)
- 1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 2 large leeks, washed and cut into slices
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- Heat your oven to 180°C / 360°F.
- Heat your happy fat in a large fry pan over a medium flame. Add your onions and fry until they just start to turn a little brown at the edges. Add the lovingly chopped carrot and swede. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until starting to soften.
- Turn the heat up and add your meat. Stir well. Give the mixture a generous seasoning of salt.
- Add the cinnamon, thyme and parsley. Stir again.
- Stir in the tapioca starch and allow the remaining juices to soak up. Gradually add the gravy to the meat mixture until it is all incorporated.
- After the mixture comes to the boil, turn the heat right down, pop the lid on the pan and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- While the meat is cooking, pop your cauliflower into a pot of boiling water. Sprinkle with some salt, and cook until fork-tender – about 7 minutes. Drain.
- Pop half your cooked cauliflower into your food processor. Add a little salt. Pulse until pureed and set aside in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Grease your baking dish well (I used more melted lamb fat).
- When the meat is ready, spoon it into your greased baking dish and level it out with the back of the spoon. Carefully spread the cauliflower mash evenly over the top.
- Sprinkle the leeks evenly on top of the mash. If using, sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top and pop into your oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is crusty and golden.