When I was little, and my mother served up Shepherd’s Pie, I hated it with such a passion that I would divide it up on my plate and play a game.
I’d tell myself that this piece was for X (insert name here), this piece was for X’s friend Y (insert different name here) and so on until all the pie on my plate was accounted for.
I then proceeded to eat it, piece by piece, pretending that these imaginary friends hadn’t shown up for dinner so I had to eat their portions. Until my plate was clean.
And thus the terror of Shepherd’s Pie night became a weird game where I stole food from make-believe tardy dinner guests.
Happily my childhood distaste has morphed into a deep love of this traditional comfort food. You really can’t beat the combo of tasty meat, creamy potato and rich gravy.
I’ve topped this with leeks because a bit of extra greens never hurts and both hubs and I have a slight cheese problem so that part of the process was a no-brainer.
If you have Shepherd’s/Cottage pie-averse kiddies in the house, this might just be the dish that wins them over.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Topped with Cheesy Leeks (serves 4)
*adapted from Delia Smith
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 large, white onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 tbsps butter
- 1 cup mozzarella
- 1 large leek, cleaned and chopped into 1-inch slices
- Heat a tbsp of butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the carrot and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Stir in the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the beef browns and then stir in the tomato paste and parsley.
- Using a slotted spoon (to get rid of excess liquid), transfer the meat to a casserole dish and set aside.
- Add the sweet potato to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 15 minutes or until tender then drain and add 2 tbsps of butter and season well with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Cover the meat with a layer of the mashed potato.
- Sprinkle the leeks on top and cover generously with the cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
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