Shepherd’s Pie with Pork and Sweet Potato


It’s chilly, it’s fall, and it’s time to pull out the comfort food dishes! I have always loved British comfort food recipes and one of my absolute favorites is shepherd’s pie. 


I left most of the key components the same: it’s still a ground meat base topped with a layer of English peas and sweet potatoes. However, I changed the traditional recipe a bit by making a few easy switches that I think amplified the flavor tremendously. First, I swapped the traditional potatoes for sweet potatoes. The mashed sweet potato topping has a bit of tangy chevre crumbled in, which adds to the rich texture. Second, I used ground pork instead of lamb or beef. We had a pound of ground pork from the farmer’s market that I had been intending to use in dumplings or meatballs. But when the rain started pouring and we had our first freezing (read: 50 degree) weather, I knew I needed to make something far more comforting than Chinese food. 


I know it isn’t the most photogenic dinner on the planet, but it’s a delicious, if humble, little mound of flavor: 

The dish served six, but we ate almost half of it between the two of us for dinner. No side dishes, no appetizers, no desserts. Just a few servings each of this, served steaming hot. Husband, who gets a lot of grief from me for refusing almost all leftovers, woke up the next morning and after telling me how pretty and sweet and wonderful I am asked me if he could have the rest of the leftovers for breakfast. Romance is still alive and well in Bentonville, folks. 


Shepherd’s Pie with Pork and Sweet Potato

Serves 6

For the shepherd’s pie, you will need:
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • Red pepper, to taste
  • 3 tsp. flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can English peas, drained

For the mashed sweet potatoes, you will need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup chevre
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar (optional)

Method:

  • Boil sweet potatoes in water with a bit of salt for about 10-12 minutes, until cooked. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a large bowl. 
  • While potatoes are cooking, place olive oil, onions, carrot, garlic, and leeks in a large pot. Heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables have softened. 
  • Add meat and seasonings. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, breaking up any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon. 
  • Once meat has browned, stir in flour, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat. 
  • Transfer meat mixture to the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. Evenly distribute. Top with peas. 
  • To finish the mashed sweet potatoes, mix in butter, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, and thyme. Mash until thoroughly combined. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat and pea mixture. Scatter grated cheese on top, if desired. 
  • Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes. 
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. 


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