Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie


Cottage pie  or shepherd’s pie has been around for hundreds of years.  The exact origins has been the primer to many a good debate as some believe that it originated in Scotland, others say Ireland and others say England…but who really cares as long as we have it now.  There are many different variations when it comes to meat and even the vegetable filling.  Mutton and lamb were the two original meats used.  Ground beef is the Americanized shepherd’s pie meat of choice.  Ground turkey is a leaner option.  I am sure that bison, ostrich, venison or even bear might work, but for the purposes of this recipe I used ground pork.  Some of the usual suspects when it comes to vegetables are onions, carrots, celery, and peas, again for the purposes of this recipe (and the sake of my taste buds) I’ve omitted the peas and gone with leeks instead.  I believe that as long as you have some good hearty vegetables in your shepherd’s pie you will be good to go.  Parsnips and turnips would probably be good veggie options too.  Typically shepherd’s pie is topped with a white mashed potato…the potato you use doesn’t really matter, though you can see the nice browning on the white and they crisp up a little better, I thought that some nice mashed sweet potatoes would add some extra color and nutrition, plus give a nice little twist to an old school recipe.

Take 2 large sweet potatoes (mine came up to a little over 2 pounds of sweet potato all together.

Peel and slice sweet potatoes.

Place sweet potatoes in pan with water and sea salt (cook just like a regular potato).

Peel three medium/large carrots.

Dice carrots.

Place diced carrots into large pan (Please note: this pan needs to be large enough to hold all veggies & meat while cooking).

Clean 3 large sticks of celery.

I always cut each stick in half and then cut them long ways into smaller sections for chopping.

Chop all your celery.

Add celery to the pan that already has carrots.

One large leek.

Cut end with roots and top end off of leek. Cut leek in about 1/4 inch widths, then cut each leek circle into quarters.

Leek quarters close-up.

Place your leek into a colander.

Leeks can be dirty little buggers with sand/dirt living between the layers.

Place colander with leeks into large metal bowl with cold water.

With your hands separate each layer of leeks so that you are getting all of the sand/dirt out.

After leeks have been separated and swished around in the cold water I always do a last minute rinse at the sink to make sure all residue it gone.

Add leeks to pan with other veggies.

One medium red/purple onion (or which ever onion is your favorite).

Dice onion.

Add to pan with other veggies.

Add 3 TBSP of Olive Oil to veggies and cook on a medium heat (sweat) for 5-10 minutes.

Make sure to stir your veggies every now and then.

Add 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, 2 tsp parsley, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rubbed sage, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper, and 2 tsp minced garlic to your cooking veggies and stir well. Very soon your house will start smelling fantastic.

In a separate container add 1 tbsp ham base to 1 1/4 cups hot water and stir well. Add in 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 large bay leaves. Let them sit and get to know each other for a while.

Add 1 1/2 pounds ground pork (or your meat of choice--with beef make water mixture with beef base and so on).

Stir often until meat is almost fully cooked.

At this point your sweet potatoes should be ready for mashing. Drain all water.

Add 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp chives, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil and make sure everything gets mashed/mixed together well.

Add water mixture to your meat & veggie mixture and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Lightly spray a 9x9 baking pan with Pam (or whatever oil you have) then add your meat & veggie mixture to pan...make sure to take the bay leaves out!!

Make sure to press down on meat & veggies and that they are evenly spread in pan.

Add your mashed sweet potatoes to the top.

If you are anything like me you will realize that you do not have the mad piping skills you thought you did and will just rough the mashed sweet potatoes up with a fork in the end (helps with browning).

Finished product. You have baked your shepherd's pie for 30-35 at 400 degrees. You will want to let your shepherd's pie sit for a while to rest before dishing up.

BUT, if you are anything like me you were not patient enough to wait for your shepherd's pie to rest and you dished yourself up a small portion right away...it did not hold up well, but sure tasted FANTASTIC!

You can add the veggies that make you and your family happy.  If you want to have a crisper potato top use half white potatoes and half sweet potatoes (or whichever potatoes you prefer).  For a little more flavor depth you can add some shredded cheese to your mashed potatoes before placing on shepherd’s pie and baking….or heck, if you wanted to you could add some cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking by just sprinkling it over the top.  THE PIE IS IN YOUR HANDS…enjoy.  If you want your shepherd’s pie to have a faster “set-up” or stay more uniform when removed from the pan add a little flour while it is simmering.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 296 g
Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat

% Daily Value*
Total Fat

Saturated Fat




Total Carbohydrates

Dietary Fiber



Vitamin A   93% Vitamin C 40%
Calcium 5% Iron 12%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points
Bad points





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