Shepherd’s Pie with Asiago Cauliflower Mash and Root Veggie Goodness

This dish proves that comfort food can be wholesome and nourishing.  And isn’t that what makes food so magical, so grand? Food is a vehicle to nourish our bodies and senses and this dish, a celebration of slow winter cooking is an opportunity to connect with the sensory and indeed sensual experience of working with whole foods to develop flavor, depth and soul.  In the process, transfusing love and creativity through your fingertips into the ingredients to craft a dish that will nourish you and loved ones on all levels.  The ingredients are easily accessible, seasonal, and affordable and with a little time, a little patience, and a healthy indulgence in wine & butter you can cultivate soul-satisfying flavor that will warm your belly and bones.  Cook with a good bottle on wine on hand, and enjoy a little for you, a little for the braise.  To your health…. and sensory indulgences.

Prep Time: 35 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Serves: 8-12

 

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Asiago Cauliflower Mash
1 head of cauliflower
2 cups of veggie broth*
1 cup of asiago and/or parmesan
¾ cup of organic cream
¼ cup organic butter, softened

1) In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven add broth & chopped cauliflower.
2) Bring into a boil. Allow cauliflower to steam and soften into broth, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Use a potato masher to start… mashing- until smooth and blended If you have an immersion blender have at it.
4) Add butter and cream and mix thoroughly. Then fold in cheese making sure mash is well blended.

Root Veggie Goodness
8-12 carrots, peeled & chopped into rustic bite size chunks
1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas
1 ½ cups of cooked lentils
1 medium yellow onion
2 tbsp of tomato paste
2 shallots cloves, diced
5-7 cloves of garlic, smashed & minced
¼-⅓ cup of organic butter, softened
¾-1 ½ cup of red wine (I chose Bordeaux)

1) In a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt ½ of your butter and slowly add onions, shallots, and garlic. Sautee, regularly stirring to prevent burning until onions sweat.
2) Add carrots, folding them into the onions. Then add tomato paste, thoroughly coating the mixture. If ever the mixture looks too dry, deglaze with small splashes of red wine, picking up all the browned bits. That’s where you develop flavor in the braising process, offering more depth and complexity with each swirl. You can always sneak in more slivers of butter as needed ;-)
3) Add chickpeas and lentils and continue the braising process, sauteeing in butter and using small splashes of wine to pick up browned bits whenever needed. Give it another 10 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld. Set aside

The Masterpiece
1) Preheat Oven to 400
2) Pour cauliflower mash over root veggie goodness in the cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, creating an indulgent creamy layer to bake over.
3) Bake for about 35-50 minutes until the cauliflower is golden brown. If desired, put the casserole under the broiler for that desired crispy golden brown texture you’re seeking.

BAM. To your health kiddos!

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