The pan ultimate Caribbean breadfruit pie (Island style shepherd’s pie)
The beloved breadfruit is hot on the scene again, don’t you just love eating some breadfruit? I know I do! Also how do you like your breadfruit? I’m a roasted breadfruit type of girl. Myself and loved ones have had plenty of occasions where we banter over the preferrred cooking style of breadfruit. In short we are divided, some of us are partial to roasting/frying while the other half enjoy boiled breadfruit.
Irrespective of one’s cooking method I think we can all agree on this and that is our love for breadfruit. I have to be completely candid with you guys I had no intention of adding this little bad boy to the recipe directory, at least not for now. A little information about myself I’m very methodical and like to keep things in order where possible.
Last week I was in and out of the city running errands and conducting business, where I’m located the best place to purchase Caribbean produce is at the farmers markets right in the heart of the city. It’s also great for socialising, bumping into family/friends and discussing what’s for dinner and so fourth.
I saw this lovely piece of breadfruit, actually it was half of a breadfruit and I just couldn’t resist purchasing it. The vendor even included an extra piece at no additional cost which was an added bonus. For those that don’t know breadfruit originates from the pacific islands (Think Tahiti, Samoa, Hawai’i) it wasn’t until around the 16-17th century that it was introduced to the Caribbean.
The texture of breadfruit when ripe is quite firm, slightly sweet (due in part to the high levels of starch) with a creamy hue and an off yellowish/green peel when it is fully mature. The english speaking Caribbean Islands namely refer to it as Breadfruit however, Spanish Islands may call it – Arbol de pan, panapen, and other creole names such as lam veritab, bois pain and so fourth…too many to mention but you get the gist.
This breadfruit pie isn’t specific to one Caribbean Island, it has more of a Spanish flare courtesy of my sofrito renditionwhich forms the base of the recipe. It isn’t quite a like the official sofrito recipe but the majority of ingredients (bell peppers and herbs) are there to represent it well and the prep is a little different, but rest assured it definitely works well.
The pie is also freezer friendly, I’ve made this in batches at a time when I’m on the go and need something that’s hearty with a taste of the Caribbean to feel me up and this certainly does the trick. It’s well seasoned and not too spicy, making it a child friendly meal.
The prep takes a little bit of time, so it would be a good idea to make this on the weekend or when you have some leisure time – make a huge batch, freeze it, defrost, eat and repeat (hey that rhymes).
- ½ breadfruit, peeled, cored and chopped in chunks
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 500g of lean free range lamb mince, washed and drained
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 1 cup of sweet red bell peppers, pulsed
- 1 cup of green bell peppers, pulsed
- 3 tbsp of organic tomato paste
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tsp of oregano
- 2 tsp of cumin
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, stem removed
- 2tsp of black pepper
- 2 tsp of paprika
- 2 tbsp of coconut aminos
- Himalayan pink salt to taste
- 2tbsp of coconut oil
- Preheat the oven at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 and have a deep rectangular oven proof dish ready.
- Begin by adding the chunks of breadfruit to a large sauce pan filled by ¾ of water. Bring the pan to the boil then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the breadfruit is soft and tender to the touch (roughly 15-20 minutes).
- Once cooked drain off the excess water.
- Start to mash the breadfruit pieces with a potato masher, as the breadfruit begins to crush slowly work in the coconut milk. This will soften the breadfruit to a light creamy texture which is what you're trying to achieve then set aside.
- On medium heat melt coconut oil in a large frying pan and begin to saute the garlic and onion for one minute or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the lamb mince to the pan and sear to lock in the due. As the lamb is seared use a spatula to breakdown the mince into bitesize pieces. Do note, as the colour of the meat deepens, the meat will generate it's own fatty liquid, don't worry about absorption, it will evaporate near the latter step of cooking.
- Season the meat with the cumin, tomato paste, black pepper, oregano, thyme paprika and stir and fold into the meat. Add the salt according to your taste.
- Now fold in the pulsed bell peppers, lime juice, coconut aminos.
- Give everything a good stir before lowing the heat, covering the pan and allowing to cook for another 15 minutes
- During this time the excess liquid should have receded, we want most of it evaporated before adding to the pie dish. If there is still a large amount of liquid left. Increase the heat to speed up the liquid absorption, make sure to stir the mince or it will burn and stick.
- Evenly add the mince to the bottom of the oven proof pie dish and layer with the creamed breadfruit. Work a small amount across the top of the mince meat in an even manner until it looks like an evenly layered pie.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until a light brown hue is present
- Remove from oven and serve accordingly - a side of vegetables.
- Once cooked remove pan and serve accordingly.