Before I had children, my lackadaisical trip home from work went something like this: search the internet for a new tasty looking recipe; stop by the grocery store on my way home; pour a glass of wine; have a couple neighbors / friends over; and all cook something amazing for dinner.
And then I had children. You can see where this is going, yes?
Feeding children killed my delight in finding and cooking new recipes. If they like that today, they won’t like it tomorrow. My kids are great eaters, but they like things pretty bland and not particularly mixed up. And at five and eight years old, some days it seems as if they are already set in their ways. Boys, meet sweet potato cottage pie. Sweet potato cottage pie, welcome to my home!
Cottage pie? I’ve heard of Shephard’s Pie, so what’s cottage pie? Traditionally, Shephard’s Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. I’ve used beef here, but feel free to switch that out and use any kind of meat you like – a chicken cottage pie sounds awesome!
- 1T grass fed ghee
- 1T bacon drippings
- ½ large yellow onion, finely diced (about 1c)
- 3 c grass fed ground beef cooked and crumbled
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 4T Worcestershire sauce (replace with Coconut Aminos to make Paleo)
- 1T tomato paste
- 5 sprigs thyme - whole
- 2c sliced carrots, lightly steamed (you want them cooked only until they are half done)
- 12 oz bag frozen peas
- 6 oz frozen corn (optional; omit if you want a Paleo or grain free version)
- 4 large sweet potatoes, baked at 400 degrees until you can easily insert a knife (this will vary from 30-60 minutes based on the size of your potato)
- 2T Grass Fed Butter (Substitute coconut oil for Paleo)
- salt to taste (this is the one I like because of the micronutrients)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add ghee, bacon drippings, and onion to a pan preheated on medium-high heat.
- Saute the onion until translucent, stirring often.
- Add the beef and the garlic.
- Brown the beef.
- Drain excess fat from the pan. (How much you have will depend on how fatty your beef was; mine is typically 90/10 or 85/15)
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste.
- Add thyme, carrots, peas, and corn (if using).
- Stir to combine and simmer on low while you make the potatoes.
- Remove the potato flesh from the skin and add potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
- Add salt and butter to taste.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth. I like to use an immersion blender for a smoother mash. But you can also use a hand masher for a more rustic mash.
- Remove sprigs of thyme from the meat mixture and layer the meat mixture into a 9inch pie plate.
- Top with the potatoes and smooth the potatoes out.
- Bake at 350 until the cottage pie is warmed through and the flavors have melded.
- Serve hot.
There’s nothing in here that kids don’t typically love, so I decided to give it a try. For my youngest, it was love at first bite! It’s now his favorite meal. Evah. It tops pizza and burgers. Go figure!
He loves it so much, that I send this to school as a hearty warm lunch whenever I have leftovers. He loves that his thermos keeps it warm and ready to eat!
This recipe also freezes well. Once you assemble the sweet potato cottage pie, let it cool. Then cover it tightly with cling wrap and foil. It will freeze well for several months. When you are ready to serve it, remove from the freezer and bake for one hour at 375 degrees. Uncover it after the first 30 minutes. If you thaw it before cooking, you can cut the cooking time in half.
If you’ve followed any of my other recipes, you know that I love things that can be described as “methods” instead of recipes. To me that means they can be easily switched up with little or no risk of messing anything up! I think this would be awesome with ground turkey with the addition of creamed spinach and other great veggies – then topped with white or sweet mashed potatoes.
I’d love to hear any of your ideas about switching it up!