Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
A cottage pie is like a shepherd’s pie, except that it’s made with beef, not lamb. Here, a hearty filling of ground beef, salty olives, savory tomatoes, and warming spices like chile powder, cumin, and cinnamon rein in the sweetness of the creamy sweet potato topping.
For the topping
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb. total)
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and
Freshly ground black pepper
For the filling
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ancho chile powder or other pure chile powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1/3 cup coarsely chopped raisins or dried cranberries
Prepare the toppping
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and set them cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until very tender, about 30 minutes
When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and beat with an electric hand mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Prepare the filing
Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef, season with 2 tsp. salt, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but about 1 Tbs. of the fat; return the pan to the heat.
Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a small bowl and crush them with your hands or a fork. Add the tomatoes to the meat and cook, uncovered, until thick, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the olives and raisins and cook for another minute; season to taste with salt.
Assemble and bake the pie
Tip: You can use another size dish for baking the pie, but keep in mind that the thickness of the meat and sweet potato layers will change, which may affect the baking time.
Transfer the beef mixture to a 9x9-inch baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes over the top in an even layer. Bake until bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Switch the oven to a high-broil setting and position the rack about 6 inches from the broiler element. Broil the pie until the sweet potatoes are a bit browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
nutrition information (per serving):
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 114
, pp. 77-81
October 27, 2011
This has been a hit everytime I've made it. As someone else wrote, our dinner guests helped themselves to thirds. It's a dish you can successfully make a day ahead and then pop in the oven for 30 minutes to heat up.
Like others, I made some adjustments. First, I drastically cut back on the salt which seemed like a seriously unhealthy amount in my book, especially given the olives. Second, I substituted the ground beef with lean ground chicken or lean ground turkey. Finally, I cooked up the meat separately, poured off the fat, then added it to the vegetables to reduce fat but not flavor.
We served it with a kale, red cabbage, and julienned carrot combo and baked apples for dessert. This made a really lovely autumn meal.
I chose to adapt this to a vegetarian recipe by substituting red beans for the meat. I did increase the other veggies for the mirepoix (carrots, onions and celery) slightly. Once the mirepoix was sautéed, I added the presoaked beans and about 2 cups of vegetable broth. I cooked this down, adding more broth or water as needed, until the beans were tender and the liquid was mostly evaporated, about 20 minutes. At that point, I continued with the recipe as printed. Based on other reviews, I also cut the salt significantly and never missed it. It was fantastic- filling, hearty, and delicious on a cold winter night. I will try it next time with meat to compare, but this recipe is definitely a keeper as a midwinter vegetarian meal.