Thursday, January 7, 2010

Warm Meal, Cold Night: gluten-free cottage pie with mashed yams

This post is also being published at the Nourished Kitchen!

I love cottage pie for supper, on a cold winter's night, it's a delicious comfort food. This recipe is simple, nourishing, and can be prepared using one cast-iron pan, what's more to love? One of my health-related goals for this new year is to eliminate gluten from my diet and eat a more nutrient-dense diet, with grass-fed meats and lots of vegetables. This dish fits my criteria for a healthy meal filled with nutrients from pastured > ground beef, and local > Cedar Summit Farms cream, plus this dish is gluten-free. Kid appeal of foods is a key factor in meal planning and this one gets a thumbs up from folks of all ages at our house.

Cottage Pie with Mashed Yams
serves 4-5

1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 cup homemade beef stock or store bought organic beef broth
1/4 cup cream from grass-fed cows
1 stick good-quality butter (the higher fat content the better)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced carrots
2 medium sized yams or sweet potatoes
3/4 cup shredded grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese
1 T arrowroot powder
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
2 T organic tomato paste (I like Bionaturae as it's packaged in glass jars)
1 tsp organic Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's)
real sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste


1. Bake yams in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until soft when pricked with a fork. Peel yams, discarding the peel and mash them with 4 T butter, 1/4 cup cream and a dash of salt in an electric mixer. When the yams are nicely mashed set aside.

2. In a large cast-iron pan saute onions and carrots in 4 T butter on medium heat, stirring until onions are translucent and carrots are slightly browned. Add in ground beef, breaking up meat into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir occasionally until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Pour in beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme, stirring to incorporate and turn heat to low. Allow the liquid to reduce, for 15 minutes or so. Add in the peas, and sprinkle the arrowroot powder on top. Briskly stir to prevent the clumping, then continue stirring gently until the sauce has thickened, less then 5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat, turn oven to 375 degrees.

4. Spread mashed yams evenly on top of the meat and veggie mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the yams. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Enjoy this warm meal with your family on a cold day (it's 7 degrees here as I write this, brrr...)!

Thank you Jenny, for inviting me to write this guest post for the Nourished Kitchen.

I am sharing this post with the Nourishing Gourmet's new year's resolution carnival, and Food Renegade's fight back fridays, too! I am also sharing this at Kitchen Stewerdship!


  1. This sounds wonderful. I love these types of pies but try to stay away from them because potatoes send my blood sugar flying and then crashing. Sweet potatoes or yams work though!

  2. i avoid regular tats too, another great option is steamed, then pureed cauliflower.

  3. this sounds delicious! i'd love to give it a try :)

  4. This looks yummy but isn't there wheat in the Worcestershire sauce (from the soy sauce) thus making the recipe not "gluten-free"? Is there a subcstitute I can use for the Worcestershire or can I eliminate it from the recipe without altering the flavor?


  5. hmmm... i simply avoid gluten but am not "technically" celiac, so I am not as stringent as some might need to be in total avoidance.
    I think 1 tsp of shoyu, or soy sauce made only with soy, and a tiny dash of cayenne pepper would do the trick for substituting but I can't promise!

    I honestly do not know if Annie's brand Worcestershire is gluten-free or not, i assumed the soy sauce was just that,not like tamari, which includes wheat.

  6. I'm so glad I finally came over to your blog, from the Nourished Kitchen. I'm in St. Cloud so it's great to read about local foods I can (mostly) get here.

    This recipe looks great and I love anything that takes just one pan, cast iron skillet even better! When I need Worcestshire and don't have it on hand (I keep forgetting to buy it), I have substituted wheat-free tamari and a dash of red wine, and it works well. I think I just googled for possible substitutions and found that.

    I put your blog link on my (fairly neglected lately) blog so I'll be able to follow you better now.

  7. I saw this post on The Nourished Kitchen and am glad to have found your blog! I am a real food lover as well, and I look forward to following your site.

    On a different note, my cast iron pan (from my grandfather, so it's about 60 years old) is my favorite thing in the kitchen! I haven't done anything like this with it, but love the idea of using it like a pie pan

  8. Came over from Food Renegade.

    I have some ground beef ready for a shepherd's pie I was going to make this week, only I was wanting to use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. I'm so glad I found this! I can't wait to try it! All I need is the arrowroot powder!

  9. thanks for coming here Sassy- if you can tolerate gluten,you could sub regular flour for arrowroot.

  10. Mmmm. So yummy. My whole fam gobbled it up!

  11. This looks great, Emily! I am in the process of trying to expand our current rut of a schedule in our cooking arrangement. Although this week we have made some delicious, fantastic dishes. But it's always great to have new ideas! This reminds me a bit of our shepherd's pie version we make, although it's got enough varied ingredients in it to make it interesting and different. Thanks for this post!

  12. This looks really yummy! I may make this tomorrow night instead of a recipe from epicurious. Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's nice to find a fellow real food lover!

  13. I made this last night for dinner. After a week of "misses", my kids declared this a BIG hit. It is now safely tucked in my recipe keeper file. More please!

  14. we made this last night, and it was so good. thank you for sharing. I always love visiting your beautiful blog. blessings, nicole

  15. Hi Emily,

    Found your blog by random Googling and I love it! I made your cottage pie recipe this past week and it was the perfect winter meal - made for great leftovers, too! Did my best (as always) to get real and ethical ingredients from Whole Foods/Trader Joe's/our local butcher. Here's my blog post about the whole experience in case you're interested:

    Happy winter!

  16. Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it tonight & it was delicious. I made a few minor changes (what cook doesn't?) but the essence of the recipe remained yours & is now added to our family favorites.