We often think of people of the paleolithic era as cavemen, which is pretty harsh as they likely lived in wooden huts and other structures that simply didn’t stand the test of time. Cottages, even. So there’s no reason why they wouldn’t have loved a paleo cottage pie of an evening, after a long, cold day running around trying to catch their dinner. I guess they wouldn’t have had cows though, as they weren’t domesticated until we’d started farming, so I guess I should replace with some other wild animal. But I’m not going to. This is classic comfort food at its best, and something I made up in around half an hour after a cold run home when I’m afraid a salad simply wouldn’t cut it. This is pretty similar to regular cottage pie, but uses a celeriac and cauliflower mix to replace the potato. The two flavours works together really well, and I much prefer both the flavour and texture of this to regular potato mash. Plus it’s quicker!

Ingredients – makes 3 or 4 portions

1 packet of minced beef (I think it was 500g)
One small chopped onion
1 crushed garlic clove
2 large ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
Half a beef stock cube
Tea spoon dried thyme
Worcestershire sauce
Tomato puree
Half a cauliflower, coarsely chopped, stem mostly removed
Half a celeriac – peeled and coarsely chopped
Dessert spoon of butter
Grated mixed cheeses – cheddar, parmesan and I had some mozzarella lying around, but that’s optional.
Splash of full fat milk.


Pop the oven on to 180 degrees to warm up. If you have a grill and oven setting use this to speed up the browning on the top of the pie.
Soften the onion in olive oil – the usual story, low to medium heat, lid on top, soften and steam until translucent – around 3 minutes
Whilst that’s cooking, pop a large-ish pan of water on to boil.
Add the garlic to the onion for a minute then add the beef and turn up the heat – stir and cook until browned
Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, stock cube, Worcestershire sauce (a good few splashes) and tomato puree (a good squeeze) and cook through.
Add some water if it’s looking a bit dry, but not too much – you want a nice thick cottage pie type sauce!
Pop a lid on that, and crack on with the topping. Pop the celeriac in the surely now boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, then add the cauliflower. Cook for another 10 minutes then drain.
Put the drained cauli and celeriac back in the now dry pan, and turn up the heat to drive off excess water. Add the butter and a splash of milk and then mash up it up nicely. It should be soft enough to mash pretty easily.
Grate in as much cheese as you fancy, then beat the cheese into the mash with a wooden spoon. You should have a nice thick, fluffy topping.
Put the meat into an ovenproof dish so it’s a nice thick layer, then top with the cauliflower and celeriac topping. Pop into the oven to cook for 10 minutes whilst you cook up some carrots and peas (carrots for 10, peas for 5).
Serve it up and enjoy. Who would have thought paleo could taste so darn comforting?

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