Elk Shepherd’s Pie

I wasn’t planning on posting non-buffalo recipes on my blog, but…why not? I love cooking with game, and maybe if you’re interested in eating bison, then you’ll like some of what I cook with other wild(ish) animals.

Almost immediately after I bought some ground last week at Jungle Jim’s, I started thinking about Shepherd’s Pie. I had to do quite a bit of thinking about it to figure out what would be the best way to make it paleo. It seemed like all the recipes I could find had a whipped cauliflower topping to replace the white potatoes. That just didn’t seem like it would hold up to the rich taste of elk. But sweet potatoes would!

Another thing I noticed in many of the Shepherd’s Pie recipes was the blandness of the spicing, so I fixed that. It might seem strange at a glance to have allspice and rosemary in the same dish, but believe me, it works! You end up with a rich earthy meat and vegetable base, topped with the creamy mild sweetness of the potato, with just a hint of something spicy.

I do think it’s important, however, to use fresh rosemary and thyme for this dish. You’d have to use a lot more of the dried stuff, and you still wouldn’t get the nice earthy flavor.

Unless I’ve missed something, this recipe should be paleo as written, with no substitutions.


  • 1 lb. ground elk
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 or 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 4 C sweet potatoes, diced into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 C beef broth
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the sweet potatoes in a pot with some salt, cover with water, and boil them until they’re soft.
  3. Add 1 T coconut oil and onions to a sauté pan, sprinkle with black pepper, and turn the heat up to medium.
  4. When the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic and carrots and cook a few minutes.
  5. Add the ground elk and cook it until it’s browned through.
  6. Add the beef broth and tomato paste, and stir until they’re incorporated.
  7. Sprinkle in the thyme and rosemary, and give it a final stir and remove the pan from the heat.
  8. By this time, the sweet potatoes should be ready. Drain them and return them to the pot.
  9. Add 1 T of coconut oil and the coconut milk to the sweet potatoes and mash them by hand. Then, add the nutmeg and allspice, and some salt to taste.
  10. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread the meat mixture into an even layer, and then top with the sweet potatoes.
  11. Bake for 30-45 minutes. If you want the top to brown, turn the oven up to 375 degrees for the last 10 minutes or so.

Makes 8 two-cup servings.

This was a HUGE hit at our house, even with our 14 year-old, who almost always chooses vegetables over meat (unless it’s chicken). But now she’s ecstatic about elk, and over breakfast this morning, she shared a few ideas about how we could use it in some other recipes.

I had leftovers cold for lunch, since I was on the road, and I found it just as enjoyable. The hubby said he got some jealous looks around the lunch table at work, too.

This one is going to go into regular rotation at our house!

Categories: FoodTags: , , ,


  1. This is just what I’m looking for, thank you for sharing! I am trying it this weekend.


  2. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe! My husband found it after discovering elk at our local grocery store. We have made it several times and have found that it freezes, thaws, and reheats very well. We usually increase the sweet potatoes to 4 large ones in order to thickly cover the entire skillet. We’ve also found that we prefer for the potatoes to be a little chunkier so they don’t disintegrate while baking. We just made it tonight and the house smells amazing. Thanks again!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: