Sweet potato shepherds pie


It’s terribly hard to get out of bed in the morning these days so I tried a new “beach sounds” alarm to make  the transition more enjoyable.
However, three weeks on and the crashing waves and cawing seagulls failed to ease the disappointment I felt.  I had to wonder; had I now created a negative association with a noise I usually love to hear?  Am I better off with an alarm that gets louder (and sounds crankier) with each second I ignore it?

Fast forward to the weekend, I found myself down Cronulla beach, lying on the sand with book in hand.
I took in my surroundings; people sun baking, dogs chasing balls into the water, children laughing and playing and speed boats sailing off into the distance. Then I heard the familiar sound of waves crashing and seagulls cawing just as I had every morning the last few weeks and I couldn’t help but smile as I realised; we are moving closer to Summer.

So, even though the days are getting warmer, we still have some cold nights ahead of us which means more comfort food.

Shepherds pie is one of those dishes I have only experienced a few times, and always at a friend’s house. It wasn’t made in my household although  my sister Sandra makes it for her family on a regular basis.
The earliest recording of shepherds’ pie was in the 1800s in Scotland and England where chunks of meat were used instead of mince. (The beef version is called cottage pie). Traditionally topped with mashed potato, I have given it a slight twist with mashed sweet potato and a bit of cumin and chilli.
As for the filling, any vegetable you have on hand can be added to the meat if you don’t want it to be as meat-heavy as mine. This would be nice served with a coleslaw on the side as cabbage is in season at the moment.


Sweet potato shepherds' pie


    For the topping
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Freshly ground sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • For the mince
  • Oil for frying (I used coconut oil)
  • 500 grams minced lamb (free range)
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 level teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 level teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup gluten free beef or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of chopped fresh herbs (I used a mixture of curly leaf parsley, thyme and some mint)


    For the topping
  1. Steam sweet potato until tender.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan and mash till smooth. Season with sat and pepper.
  3. For the mince
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (170 - 180 fan forced).
  5. In a medium saucepan, fry onion, garlic, carrots and celery till soft
  6. Increase heat, add the mince and cook till brown.
  7. Reduce heat, add the cumin and dried rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Pour in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes
  10. Season with salt and pepper if it needs it.
  11. Assembly
  12. Transfer mince ingredients to an ovenproof dish. Pat down with back of spoon.
  13. Spoon mash over the top and spread out carefully.
  14. If you can tolerate dairy, sprinkle over plenty of grated cheese (grass fed, free range or organic).
  15. Bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs


* If mixture is too dry, add another 1/2 cup stock.


Leave your reply