I’m not really sure what constitutes the difference between calling a dish shepherd’s pie and a casserole. Yes, shepherd’s pie has a top layer of mashed potato (or, in this case, squash) whereas not all casseroles do.
Which begs the question: maybe shepherd’s pie is a casserole, but a casserole is not necessarily a shepherd’s pie?
Whatever the answer, the one thing both casseroles and shepherd’s pie have in common is that they’re ugly. Well, except for my mom’s shepherd’s pie. I think that was my favorite meal growing up. Ironically, it was also my sister’s nemesis.
It’s debatable as to whether or not I truly loved the shepherd’s pie, or if I just wanted to get her upset. Hey, it’s fair; her favorite was cube steak, and that was always my nemesis.
Until then, though, I think this butternut squash shepherd’s pie is a pretty good substitute. It’s a warm bowl of cozy comfort! Perfect for a chilly fall or winter day.
I used White Bean Flour to thicken and make a bit of a gravy. I’m guessing everyone doesn’t have white bean flour hanging out in their kitchen cupboards, though.
The mild-flavor of white beans makes this flour ideal for sauces and gravies. It can also be used to thicken soups. Add herbs and spices to reconstituted white bean flour for a flavorful white bean puree.
Bean flours are probably overlooked too often – but they’re really a great source of protein and a great gluten-free option, too. But, if I still haven’t convinced you – you could probably just sub the 1/2-3/4 c. water + 2 T. white bean flour for as much gravy, or veg. broth thickened with…cornstarch?
First, though: Don’t doubt the cranberries.
Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie
for 2-3 servings
- 1 medium butternut squash, halved and baked
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
- 1/4 c. diced red onion
- 1 small can of diced mushrooms (only lightly drained)
- 1/3 c. frozen cranberries
- 1/4 t. maple pepper
- 1/4 t. salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 c. black beans
- 1/2-3/4 c. water
- 2 T. white bean flour
- walnuts – optional, for topping
1. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan, and add in the diced onion and broccoli. Cover and sautee until the broccoli is bright green.
2. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the mushrooms, beans, and cranberries. Leave over medium heat until the cranberries begin popping. While that cooks, work on the butternut squash topping by scooping the flesh into a medium sized bowl. Mash and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. When the cranberries have begun popping, add in 1/2 – 3/4 c. water, followed by the white bean flour, adding it 1/2 T. at a time and stirring well after each addition.
4. Once you’ve added the water and flour, cook over medium-low heat until it has begun to thicken. Once it has, pour into a medium-sized casserole dish, and top with the mashed butternut squash. Sprinkle the top with paprika, and bake in a preheated 400* oven for 40 minutes, or until top has begun to brown and bubbled are forming along the sides.
5. Allow to cool before serving – it’s hot! Garnish with chopped walnuts.
This. is. so. good. I think the combination of mushrooms, cranberries, and broccoli in the creamy sauce is just too perfect for words.
And what your favorite childhood meal was, especially if it was just your favorite if it irritated your beloved siblings 😉