Spicy Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie

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The last couple weeks I’ve been so focused on watching calories, macros and sodium that I didn’t want to risk any mistakes with my poor brain function. I stuck with the basics like grilled chicken, potatoes, rice and steamed veggies for my main meals instead of experimenting. I also found out it’s very hard to watch your sodium while using any type of packaged or canned foods.

That’s why there have been a streak of dessert type recipes since I had a backlog of those queued up, but not quite as many main dishes. Now that contest is behind me, I’m back at it. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until yesterday when I was working on dinner. Gosh it feels great to be back! Guess I’ve found my true passion, huh? 😉

There’s a wonderful restaurant here that serves Mediterranean foods like hummus, pitas, grilled lamb kabobs. I could seriously do some damage on kabobs and hummus. I definitely love Mediterranean food like kefta patties and pitas. It occurred to me that hummus is kind of like mashed potatoes in consistency.

I was thinking about it the other day and decided to try some kind of Mediterranean shepherd’s pie. Lamb is used a lot in this type of cuisine but lamb can be pretty high in fat (and freaking expensive!) depending on the cut. The leaner the cut, the more cha-ching you need. I don’t part easily with my cha-ching, so I opted for plain old lean ground beef. Much easier on the hips and the wallet.

Other key staples in Mediterranean cooking are fragrant spices, lots of garlic, and usually a little bit of sweetness to balance out some of the spice. I played around with what I had on hand and came up with a shepherd’s pie with a hummus crust. Do they have shepherds in Morocco?

Spicy Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie Moroccan Shepherds Pie

  • 1/2 cup (80g) chopped onion
  • 1 cup (100g) chopped baby carrots
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (93/7)
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp no salt added tomato paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 box (28g) raisins
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 15 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Water

Place the onion, carrots, and ground beef in a skillet and cook over medium heat. Break the chunks of meat apart with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. Saute for about 10 minutes until the meat is cooked thoroughly and the carrots and onions are softened.

Add the garlic, tomato paste and spices and cook for about a minute. Add the wine, broth and raisins. Stir to combine and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes over low to medium low heat. Stir in the lime juice and parsley after the 30 minutes and remove from heat.

In a food processor or Magic Bullet, combine the chick peas, garlic, broth and lime juice. Process until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water to get it smooth. You want the consistency of mashed potatoes or very thick hummus. You don’t want runny!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 2 – 3 cup baking dishes with non-stick spray. I used the large pyrex ramekins that hold about 2.5 cups each. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the ramekins. Top each dish with the chick pea mixture. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Each ramekin has 2 servings.

Makes 6 servings at approximately 232 calories each – 20g protein, 24g carbs, and 7g fat.

Notes

  • You can use more or less carrots and onions depending on what your family likes. Love carrots? Increase them. Hate onions, use less. It’s pretty flexible.
  • The fat from the ground beef helps to cook the onion and carrots so you don’t need to add any extra oil to saute. I loved that benefit.
  • You can easily get away with using the cheapest wine possible here since most burns off and it just adds a hint of flavor. Honestly I’ve had the same opened bottle of wine in my fridge for months. I just use a little bit here and there when cooking.
  • You can use other dried fruits instead of raisins if you like. Dried apricots, dates, figs. If the pieces are larger than raisins, I’d chop them to raisin size first though.
  • You can definitely multitask while the beef mixture is simmering. I walked the dog during the 30 minutes and came back to throw it in the oven. Perfect timing.

I froze 2 servings to have later and plan to use a couple for lunches this week. The flavors the next day were actually even better than the first day since they had time to sit.

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