Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

As I thought about what to make this weekend and browsed around the internet for recipe inspiration, I saw several Shepherd's Pies that looked really tasty.  Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with a layer of ground lamb covered with a gravy, a layer of potatoes, and sometimes cheese.  I took the inspiration and thought about how I could make it with ingredients we love.  I decided to create a version with ground beef (the substitution which actually makes this a Cottage Pie rather than the Shepherd's Pie), a tomato sauce with rosemary and thyme, and a sweet potato layer on the top.  

I shot from the hip with this one and used Rem's cooking method: use ingredients you know you love and season liberally.  Well, it worked!  This turned out incredibly delicious!!!  You've got to try it.  

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Meat mixture:
3 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 celery ribs, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
handful baby carrots, diced
16 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
1 T dried thyme
1 T dried rosemary
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper

Sweet Potato mixture:
3 enormous (that's what I used) or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T grass fed butter
1 egg

1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes.  Place in a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft.  
2. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, brown the ground beef.  As it browns, chop the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.
3. After the meat has browned, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon.  Also remove most of the fat in the pot, leaving about 1 T behind to cook the veggies in.  It's also time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Add onion and celery to the pot, cooking about 5 minutes or until it gets some color.  Then add garlic, rosemary, thyme, and some salt and pepper.  Stir untiil fragrant, about 1 minute.  
5. Add tomato sauce to deglaze the pan a bit.  Then add tomato paste, mushrooms, and carrots.  Add the ground beef back in as well.  Cook over medium heat 5-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, as you finish cooking and mashing the potatoes. Just make sure the ground beef mixture doesn't stick to the pot.  If it does, add a little water.  
6. Once the potatoes are soft, drain them, then put them back in the pot and add garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, butter, and egg.  Beat with an electric mixer until mostly smooth.
7. Spread the meat mixture so it is flat on top. Then spread the sweet potato mixture on top of the meat mixture and smooth it out.  
8.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.
9. Enjoy!

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