Venison is rich in iron and cauliflower provides a good hit of choline, vital for brain function. This healthy version of shepherd’s pie is a winner!
Now is a great time to buy venison. Deer have spent the summer feasting on green pastures and are in top form. Venison is leaner than chicken breast, contains more iron than beef and is packed with B vitamins. It’s a healthy choice for your baby and for the environment. There are approximately one million deer in the UK – and they pose a major problem for forests in places like the Highlands since they graze on young trees. I have been educated in this area by my good friend Paul Lister, head of The European Nature Trust. According to Paul, 99% of European forest has been cut down and we need to do everything we can to protect what is left.
You can start by choosing venison rather than beef! Shepherds Pie is such a great British staple but I wanted to make it more healthy. By swapping traditional mash for cauliflower you are getting a good hit of choline, an essential micronutrient for brain health, as well as anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates.
Makes Approximately 10 baby portions, or 4 adult serves.
1 large cauliflower, chopped
4 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 leek washed, top and tailed, sliced down the middle and cut into half moon slices
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 rashes of organic bacon, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut down the middle and cut into half moon slices
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
500g venison (or beef) mince
1 cup chicken stock ( or homemade bone broth)
- Preheat oven to 180C. Next, steam the cauliflower until soft, approximately 10 minutes (steaming cauliflower retains more nutrients than boiling). Set aside.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot, celery and bacon and cook on a gentle heat for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the mince and cook until the meat is browned. Pour in the stock and tomatoes bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with fresh ground black pepper.
- Meanwhile place the cooked cauliflower in a food processer with 1 tbsp of oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
- To assemble, spread the mince over the base of one large oven-proof dish. Top with an even layer of cauliflower puree. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden.