This is a bright and fun take on shepherd’s (or cottage) pie. Our parsnip harvest just started – and they are huge this year! There are endless ways to prepare parsnips, but honestly mashed with butter is my favorite. The carrots are a nice pair with the parsnips. To change things up the carrots and parsnips make the traditional potato topping, and the bottom is beef with red wine, rosemary, and onions. Baking this in a cast iron skillet works nicely, but if you don’t have one a casserole or baking dish works fine. I used local ground beef from Autumn’s Harvest Farm, it has a higher fat content then lean ground beef and I like the flavor. If you use lean, make sure you add oil when browning the meat.
Start by peeling and chopping the root vegetables, and then boiling them until super soft. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the meat. If you organize the steps this dish shouldn’t take too long, and on a cold night the results will be well worth the effort!
While the veggies boil away, prepare the meat. Brown the meat in a skillet (hopefully the one you will assemble the pie in). I didn’t add oil because the meat I used had a higher fat content, but if using lean add a splash of olive oil. Sauté the onions garlic, rosemary, tomato paste, and liquid before returning the meat to the pan. Simmer everything until the liquid evaporates a bit. When the root vegetables are soft purée with an immersion blender or transfer to food processor. If you want a very smooth purée got with the food processor. If little bits of carrot don’t bother you (they don’t bother me), an immersion blender is fine.
Carrot & Parsnip Shepherd’s Pie
2 cups roughly chopped and peeled carrots
3 cups roughly chopped and peeled parsnips
4 tablespoons butter (divided)
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb grass fed ground beef
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup beef stock or water
salt and pepper
Place the carrots and parsnips in a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 -40 minutes until very soft. While the roots are simmering melt the 3 tablespoons of the butter and milk together. Purée the cooked roots and melted butter/milk mixture together in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and as much black pepper as you’d like. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Brown the ground beef in a medium sized cast iron skillet. Use a spatula to break it up while it’s cooking. Transfer to a plate, and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Cook the onions, garlic, and rosemary over medium low heat until onions are softened. Add wine, water or stock, and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate tomato paste. Return beef to the pan and cook over low heat until the liquid thickens and the mixture is moist, but not watery. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Spread the purée over the top and broil for 2 -3 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.