Whenever anyone tells me that they don’t like a certain dish, oh, let’s say, Shepherd’s Pie, my response (usually to myself) is, “You just haven’t had good Shepherd’s Pie.” My kids are so tired of hearing me say this, they don’t even utter “But I don’t like …(whatever it is you just cooked).” But for most of us this is true. Remember the vegetables of our youth? That soggy cauliflower, those droopy broccoli stems and those squishy green beans? You have to admit, we just hadn’t had good ones, am I right? So, in true scientific fashion, I present my evidence for my former dislike of Shepherd’s Pie: Martha Stewart’s Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. I don’t know what it is about this Shepherd’s Pie, but I love it! I don’t just mean that I love it, I mean that I would eat it straight from the pan, straight from the refrigerator, off of someone else’s plate, any way I could get it. It is that good. And believe me because…I don’t like Shepherd’s Pie. True, until this past Sunday, I had not had one that I ever cared to have again or even finish on my plate.
This recipe is based on one from this month’s Martha Stewart Living. We changed up the mashed potatoes a bit, making them a bit richer, omitted the beer (didn’t have any). But other than those changes, we followed the basic recipe.
So give it a try. If, like me, you think you don’t like Shepherd’s Pie, I will bet that you just might Love this one! Or if you do like it, I may have a new favorite one for you.
As an added bonus, this is so easy to make, you could even make it on a weeknight. How good would that be in this winter weather? Enjoy!
SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 0z cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground chuck or ground beef (90% lean)
1 T olive oil
1/2 lb. Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 t cornstarch
2 t Dijon mustard
1 1/4 c chicken stock
Preheat oven to 425F.
Put potato cubes in a large pan of water. Bring to boil, then simmer until potatoes are so tender that when you stick a sharp knife in them, it almost falls apart. This should take around 15 minutes at a low boil, give or take. Drain potatoes then return to the pan. Put them back on the stove over medium heat to evaporate any remaining water. Turn heat off.
Add softened butter and cream cheese to the pan. Mash with a potato masher or whip with hand-held mixer. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a heated heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect), add the ground beef. Cook until browned, then using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate. Drain excess fat from the pan.
Add the olive oil to the pan, followed by the onions and mushrooms. Cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes.Whisk together cornstarch, mustard, and stock in a bowl or measuring cup. Add to the skillet, stir and bring to a boil. Add the beef back to the skillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir until broth thickens a bit.
Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Bake until bubbling, 25-30 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!