Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie topped with Crispy Potatoes
I am a little obsessed with my brand new Falcon Enamel cookware. Everything I cook in this bake set has an authentic farm-to-table feel about it that can only come from cook ware made with love. As a tribute to Falcon, shipped from London to my home in America’s Mid-West, I decided to share a traditional British dish with you today, Shepard’s pie.
Thanks to the kind people at Falcon, I will be giving away a Falcon Enamel Bakeware Set next week, so make sure you’re getting my email updates or follow me on Facebook so you don’t miss the chance to enter.
When I think of Shepard’s pie, I don’t think of the warm and loving comfort food, fit for a cold winter’s night. My mind wonders to a mass-produced hot lunch that I used to eat at school. It was bland, grey, and now that I think about it, it has a synthetic quality that makes me suspect the “potatoes” came from a box, and not a field. I set out to re-create the comfort-food classic that I would be proud to serve to my family and share with you, and with two types of potatoes and plenty of colorful vegetables, I have done just that.
Just imagine for a second that you’re sitting at an aged wooden table beside a an open fireplace. Your chair creaks as you move it away from the single-paned window that struggles to keep the Yorkshire draft from breaking into the cottage. It’s raining outside, and your hair is still dripping from the short walk up the cobble-stoned path to the car. The sky is dark and you’re hungry. A steaming plate of shepard’s pie is placed before you and before taking the first bite, you feel warm and cared for. That’s what this dish is all about.
Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie topped with Crispy Potatoes
You will need the following ingredients for this shepard’s pie recipe. Serves six to eight people.
- 2lbs ground beef (or a combination of ground beef and ground lamb)
- 4 shallots (or half an onion)
- Half a red onion
- Two carrots
- Splash of red wine
- Two large sweet potatoes
- Olive oil
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Fresh rosemary
- White pepper
- Sweet paprika
- Fresh thyme
We’re going to create three layers of to make this shepards pie. A meat layer, a creamy sweet potato layer, and finally a crispy layer of potatoes for the top of the pie.
Before you get started, remove the meat from the fridge so it can get closer to room temperature. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and dice the shallots, or half an onion and allow them to saute for five to eight minutes until they are soft and starting to brown. Slice the carrots so they are just a little larger than the diced shallots and add them to the skillet. Season with white pepper and sweet paprika, then remove the leaves from one sprig of thyme and add to the skillet.
Add the meat to the skillet and crumble with a wooden soon. Now add a splash of red wine, I chose an Atoona Hills Cab-Shiraz, but you can
open and drink cook with your favorite red wine. Cook until the meat is fully cooked, it’s ok if some of it remains a little rare as we’re going to heat the entire pie in the oven before serving.
Pour your cooked meat into the bottom of your pan and move on to the sweet potatoes.
Creamy sweet potatoes:
Peel your sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks, then put them into a large pot of cold water. Place the pot on a medium to high heat, and cover. Once the water boils, turn the heat to a lower temperature and allow the water to simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked. This will take about 30 minutes, so you might want to do this while you’re sauteing the meat.
Note: I always boil potatoes this way, which is similar to the method I use for eggs, chickpeas and beans. This makes sure the potatoes cook evenly as the water heats up. When you can put a fork through the sweet potatoes effortlessly, the sweet potatoes are cooked. Removed them from the heat and set them in a bowl. Drizzle with two teaspoons of olive oil and add the leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme. Mash with a fork, and add salt to taste. If you want to add a touch more olive oil for a little more creaminess, now is the time to do it.
Use a fork to evenly spread the sweet potatoes over the meat mixture. Start with a thin layer then add to it if you have more. Once you have covered the meat, move on to the crispy potatoes for the top of the pie.
Crispy Potato Topping
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees (190 C) . Cut three large, or four medium, yukon gold potatoes, then dice half a red onion. Drizzle a dash of olive oil on the bottom of the tin then combine the onions and potatoes. Remove the leaves from one sprig of rosemary, add some kosher salt and roast for 30-40 minutes, until fully cooked – but not browned.
Once the potatoes and onions have cooked, use a spoon to gently layer them over the layer of creamy sweet potatoes. Make sure to build an even layer of potatoes. Apply some light pressure on the potatoes so the sweet potatoes can act as a glue for this final layer.
Finally, we want to brown the potatoes. Today’s range cookers come with both an oven and grill so you’re in luck! Turn the broiler to low and put the shepard’s pie under the heat for three to five minutes to the potatoes are golden brown and crispy. You can serve immediately, or turn the oven to 250 F (120 C) to keep the pie warm until ready to eat.
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