During the cooler months, I have to work extra hard to pack my family’s diet with extra nutrition to keep colds and flu and the winter blues at bay. This is easier said than done with a toddler who has multiple food allergies and a baby on the way who already has strong ideas about what it wants to eat. Those factors combined with being a working mama means that I have to plan carefully for what to feed my family.
One of my favorite dishes that checks all of the boxes is Shepherd’s Pie. I love that I can throw everything for the stew in a crockpot all day and come back home to a perfectly cooked meal that makes everyone’s mouth water. In 10 minutes, I have a nourishing dinner on the table for us, and minimal clean up.
I also love that I can use the leftovers to make dinner the next night, or if I have the energy and gumption, make a special dinner in the same night.
For my Shepherd’s Pie, I forgo the traditional potato topping in lieu of turnips and rutabagas. These humble veggies are often the unsung heroes of traditional winter soups and stews. When cooked thoroughly and whipped well, they develop a slightly sweet flavor and silky texture. They also have some vital nutrients that our bodies need during the colder months, like vitamins C, B-6, potassium, and phosphorus. Add a little bit of grass-fed butter for some added vitamin D, and you have a perfect mash that will make your mouth happy and your cells functioning well.
- 1-2 lb lamb or grass-fed beef roast
- 5 carrots, halved and chopped
- 3-4 large shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 lb baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 lb frozen peas
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
- 1 Tbsp arrow root powder (optional)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 2 large rutabagas, peeled and cubed
- 2 turnips, peeled and cubed
- 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
- 1 cup organic white cheddar, finely shredded (optional)
- Chopped parsley
- Rub roast generously with salt & pepper. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Prep all herbs and veggies, minus the peas. Combine well.
- Rub the inside of your slow cooker with olive oil and place roast inside. Place veggies around the roast, cover, & cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Add peas. Shred or cube roast.
- For the pie topping: Steam rutabaga and turnips until tender. Mash with butter. If cooked properly, turnips and rutabaga should become silky and whip up even better than potatoes. Stir shredded cheese into the mash, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Evenly spread the stew mixture into a large baking dish. In small spoonfuls, add the mash over the top of the stew mixture.
- Broil the uncovered dish on high for 10 minutes or until the top gets golden brown.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.
- Prep and refrigerate to cook later in the week. Preheat oven to 350 for 25 minutes, then broil uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown.
- Skip the topping and enjoy. For a thicker stew, use 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and mix vigorously with arrow root. Stir the slurry back into the slow cooker and serve!
In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and author. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.