I HATE Shepherd’s Pie. Next to “Welsh Rarebit” (saltines drizzled with a gooey orange cheese-like substance), Shepherd’s Pie was the most disgusting dish served in my elementary school cafeteria. I still believe that if you want a burger, peas and mashed potatoes, you should eat a burger, peas and mashed potatoes instead of mixing it all together in some sort of “pie.” Alas, my friend Susy recently opened my eyes to a different kind of Shepherd’s Pie—one that includes yummy things like sweet potatoes and carrots.
Armed with the crazy idea that Shepherd’s Pie could be tasty and a few ideas from a recipe for Autumn Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie from the Canyon Ranch Cooks cookbook, I set out to give Shepherd’s Pie another chance…and it was really good!
1 package ground turkey
2 lbs sweet potatoes (2 big ‘uns)
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
½ cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried rosemary
¾ cup vegetable stock
¾ cup apple cider
3 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tsp maple syrup
orange juice, to taste (somewhere between ¼ and 1/3 cup)
1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks.
2. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Add sweet potatoes and cook until soft when poked with fork. Drain and set aside.
3. Brown turkey in a small skillet, using just enough oil to keep the turkey from sticking to the pan. Set aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, butternut squash, onions and celery. Sauté until onions are translucent.
5. Add rosemary and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
6. Add vegetable stock, apple cider and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, 25 minutes or so.
7. Preheat oven to 350°.
8. Using an electric mixer or a food processor, puree the sweet potatoes, ginger and maple syrup. Add orange juice to taste. Mix well.
9. Assemble the “pie” in a casserole dish: first the ground turkey, then the vegetables and finally the sweet potatoes.
10. Bake for 15 minutes.