I wanted to make something warm and hearty and filling for St. Pat’s this year. But as I’ve also been working on losing some weight over the last few months, I decided to rethink the classic Shepherd’s Pie by swapping out the beef for leaner ground bison, using lots of veggies, and lightening the classic mashed potatoes by making a batch of mashed parsnip potatoes.
Bison Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Mashed Potatoes
12-16 ounces ground bison
2 russet potatoes
1 carrot, peeled and small diced
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 T flour
1 T tomato paste
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 - 1.5 cups beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1-2 T butter
splash of milk
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
dash of garlic & onion powder
sprinkle of Parmesan or Cheddar cheese (optional)
Peel & large dice the potatoes. Peel both the parsnips. Large dice one, about the size of the diced potatoes, and small dice the other. Peel & small dice the carrot & onion. Mince the garlic.
Place the large diced parsnip & potatoes in a pan of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook until they are softened, about 15 minutes. (A fork or the tip of a knife should pierce them easily.) Drain, and return to the pan. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter, a few good grinds of black pepper, and a splash of milk. (I used unsweetened plain cashew milk.) Mash, stir, mash some more, stir a bit more, till you have fluffy parsnip-potatoes. Taste and salt as desired.
Meanwhile heat a skillet over medium high heat, and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the bison, and break apart. Continue to cook until the meat is nicely browned and nearly cooked through.
Add the diced onions, carrots, and minced garlic, and sauté until the vegetables are softened and have cooked down. Grind in some black pepper. Sprinkle with the flour, and stir to coat.
Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, and 1 cup of the beef broth. Stir to combine well. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10-15 minutes. If there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid, you can add more beef broth. Stir in the thawed corn & peas. Taste, and salt if necessary. (Commercial beef broth is often heavily salted, so once this has simmered and cooked down, you may not need any additional salt.)
Pour the meat and vegetable filling into a casserole dish or baking pan. Top with the mashed parsnip potatoes. I like to leave a little gap around the edge for the sauce to bubble up. If desired, sprinkle the top lightly with cheese like Parmesan or Cheddar.
Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top. Or if you wish to make this ahead in the morning and bake it that night: allow the pie to cool for a few minutes, then cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready for dinner that night, preheat the oven to 425, and bake 30-35 minutes, then broil for a few minutes for a beautiful golden top.