Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Rodale News
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Adapted from An American Girl in London

This is my tried-and-true version of the classic family recipe. Though traditionally made with lamb mince, you can substitute beef if you prefer (this is called Cottage Pie). Sweet potato adds a nice vibrant colour and is packed full of natural sweetness and nutrients, perfect for the munchkins.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
(Makes 8 servings)


  • 2 pounds large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean lamb mince
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/4 cups Chicken Stock

1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and place back into the pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Using an electric whisk, blend the potato and butter until smooth and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining butter and the oil along with the onion. Cook for 15 minutes, or until softened and browned. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Stir through the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Increase the heat and add the lamb mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the vegetables back to the pan along with the cinnamon, thyme, and rosemary. Stir to combine, then add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened. Check for seasoning.

4. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch x 7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with the sweet potato mash and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbling and the sweet potato is beginning to darken where it peaks. Serve with a winter greens salad.

Tip: This can be made ahead, frozen, and defrosted overnight in the fridge before it’s baked in the oven.

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