Bison Bacon Cottage Pie

It was an amazing day in San Diego today, not a cloud in the sky, 75 degrees.  I went for a surf and to the beach, wait...no I didn't.  Why not, you ask?  Because somehow last night I got food poisoning, or salmonella, or some other unappetizing stomach bug.  I will spare you the rest of the details.   Good news is my computer kept me company today, and I learned a lot.  I sat around reading articles on the internet about food and looking at pictures on Pinterest, inspiration for some new recipes.  Today also happens to be Father's Day.  My dad passed away almost 10 years ago, but he would have loved this recipe.  I learned a few months ago that labeling is very important when it comes to Buffalo.  If the meat is labeled simply "Buffalo", you could be getting up to 50% beef, or any combination of water buffalo, bison and beef.   What you need to look for is meat labeled "Bison", that means it is 100% Bison, make sure to read the ingredients and label.  Every once in a while Sprouts has a sale on bison, and we stocked up this time.  I got the grass-fed ground bison in this cottage pie for only $7.49/lb.  The bison and bacon combined with cheaper ingredients, like mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and parsnips, make this is a really budget friendly meal.  I used a combination of sweet potatoes and parsnips for the topping, my stomach doesn't tolerate sweet potatoes in large quantities, and since I knew I was going to eat a lot of this, I thought I would cut the potatoes with parsnips.  Parsnips have a strong flavor, and if you aren't a fan, just use all potato, I won't know the difference.

Bison Bacon Cottage Pie
(Print Recipe)
For filling:
1 lb. Ground Bison
5 strips Bacon, chopped
1/2 White onion, diced
1 lb. Mushrooms, diced (I used Button)
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Coconut aminos
1/2 cup Beef stock mixed with 1 tsp Arrowroot powder
Salt & Pepper

For topping:
3 Root vegetables (I used 2 parsnips, 1 sweet potato), cubed
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbls Coconut milk
Salt & Pepper
Paprika, for color
Parsley, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Note: I used 4, 12 oz single servings, or use one, 1.5 quart baking dish.
For topping:
Add root vegetables to sauce pot and cover with cold water.  Cook over medium-high heat until tender.  Drain vegetables, return to pan with garlic and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper, smash with potato masher.  Set aside until filling is complete.

For filling:
While potato/parsnip mixture is cooking, crisp bacon in large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Once crisp, remove and set aside.  Add bison, mushrooms and onion to pan, cook until bison is no longer pink.  Add garlic, thyme, coconut aminos, and beef stock/arrowroot mixture.  Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until everything is incorporated, and thickens slightly.  Season with pepper and check if any salt is needed.  Add bacon back to pan, mix thoroughly and divide mixture evenly among baking dishes.  Top filling with potato/parsnip mixture, spread out evenly.  Sprinkle with paprika.   
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, garnish with chopped parsley.  Enjoy!