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I have another comfort food make over today. Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie! I’ll just cut to the chase: it’s only 390 calories per serving and it’s gluten-free. It’s loaded with flavor, rich gravy, lean grass-fed beef and a bit of melted gooey cheese on top to make it unbelievably irresistible!

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

When I think of Shepherd’s Pie, or pretty much any classic British fare, I think of a little old lady named Vi. That’s short for Violet. And she was indeed British. And she made a mean Shepherd’s Pie.

Vi used to take care of my sister and me once or twice a year if my parents ever went out of town. I have a lot of other memories of her. But they are of course skewed because I was only 10 or so when she took care of us, so that was a long time ago. I do know this. She was a character!

She was old. I think probably about 148 or 150 years old. {See my memory was very clear.} And I am also clear as day that she was about 4 feet 2 inches high. She wore mostly thrifted polyester pants, orthopedic shoes and several layers of hand crochet sweaters made of pastel acrylic. In the summer they were sleeveless.

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Vi having grown up in the early part of the 20th century in East London, had such a strong accent, that at times it was hard to understand her.

She would often tell my sister and me stories about her childhood, growing up in East London with her two sisters and their mother. No dad. She would tell us how they got by without any money at all. To me at age 10 living in my safe warm suburban home, it seemed like another world. Like a movie or a book. But Vi had lived it.

She would also talk about other more mundane or humorous memories too, stuff that is universally relatable no matter your age or background. Like how her sister Edie hated the taste of onions, and if her mother had cut her sandwich with an oniony knife she would complain about it. Siblings!

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

She was full of sayings, like “God helps those who help themselves.” And “a whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men.” Ugh. I was a big fan of whistling so I heard that one a lot. Can you see the tween version of me rolling my eyes?

When I knew her, she was long retired and her life then was pretty simple; she would cook, knit, crochet, play solitaire, drink tea with lots of “real lemon” {and she was so thrifty that should would brew a second cup from the used bag.} She also watched a lot of TV–Knight Rider (the word “knight” I can hear her say it now!) and all sorts of Soap Operas on top volume for daaaaaays!

She taught me how to play kings in the corner, she taught Jessie how to knit, and me how to crochet. She took a lot of naps.

 

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Vi prided herself in her cooking. All of it was classic English fare. Her real deal Fish and Chips were legendary. She made mashed potatoes that she would whip with copious amounts of fat with an electric beater until they were super smooth. Sweet Pie, Savory Pie and more Pie (pronounced “powie”) with the flakiest crust you’ve ever seen.

Oh the lard.

And she made Shepherd’s Pie.

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Vi’s Shepherd’s Pie was made with no-so-lean ground chuck. She would cook it in the skillet, breaking the pieces up until they were as tiny as possible. She added in corn. And to make the gravy more savory, she used a dash of Bovril. A secret ingredient if you will. Then it was topped with those uber creamy whipped potatoes. She’d swirl them over the beef, corn and gravy and bake it until the potatoes became golden and crispy. There must have been a pound of butter in the potatoes alone. Folks, this was a mean Shepherd’s pie.

And it’s nothing like this one that I am sharing here today. Cue the sound of someone screeching the needle off vinyl.

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

My Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

  • The beef, it’s lean grass fed- 92% lean. One pound serves 6 people, so that means that I had to bulk up the servings with veggies to make this a satisfying meal.
  • I added in the requisite corn. A bulky veggie is always a win. Add to that more veggies: onion, carrots and celery for the double win.
  • And the rest of the gravy is really just a complete list from my playbook of ingredients to use when you want to make a comfort food beef recipe taste better- red wine, herbs and spices, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste etc. It most certainly is not bland.
  • The mashed potatoes are on the rustic side (I like a little chunk) with only 2 tablespoons of butter in them and just a bit of low-fat buttermilk for tanginess.
  • And then I did something totally crazy. I put Swiss Cheese on top! And this is because I thought it would taste good. Folks, it does. Oh boy does it taste good!
  • The results: 390 calories for a complete meal. Totally comforting. Not authentic but totally delicious and a lot healthier.

Here’s a video of how to make it!

Questions:
Did you or do you know anyone who lived during a completely different era?
Has the memory of them stuck with you?
Have you had authentic Shepherd’s Pie?

healthy skillet shepherd’s pie
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Prep Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 390

Fat per serving: 18 g

Saturated fat per serving: 9 g

Carbs per serving: 31 g

Protein per serving: 23 g

Fiber per serving: 1 g

Sugar per serving: 3g

Sodium per serving: 610 mg

healthy skillet shepherd’s pie

This Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie is a comfort food make over with only 390 calories per serving and it's gluten-free. It’s loaded with flavor, rich gravy, lean grass-fed beef and a bit of melted gooey cheese on top to make it unbelievably irresistible dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, preferably 93% lean grass fed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese, about 1 cup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender and a knife or fork can easily slip in and out when they are probed, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan. Add buttermilk, butter, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to soften and brown slightly, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add paprika and thyme and stir to coat. Add red wine and tomato paste and bring to a simmer stirring until the tomato paste is incorporated into the mixture and the wine is almost evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  5. Stir the remaining ½ cup broth with Worcestershire sauce or tamari and cornstarch and then stir into the simmering beef mixture. Cook, stirring until the sauce is thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 to 6 minutes. Stir in corn and remove from the heat.
  6. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture, top with Swiss cheese and sprinkle with additional paprika if desired. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the beef and sauce are bubbling along the edges, 15 minutes.
http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/healthy-skillet-shepherds-pie/