Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

As we’ve been looking for ways to eat better we’ve become big fans of sweet potatoes and yams. Yes, there is a difference. Real yams come from Africa or Asia and are rarely actually seen in American mega marts. What the store calls yams are the colored starchy root which most of us picture as a Thanksgiving side covered in marshmallows…usually to be avoided at all costs. Sweet potatoes are a similar root, but grown in the US and are usually white or off white in color and only a little sweeter than traditional potatoes. Both yams and sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and flavor and nutrition and they can be cooked in a lot of different ways, all of them pleasing, though few of them with marshmallows.

So now that we’ve dealt with sweet potato stigma let’s get down to our recipe. This shepherd pie recipe is one of my family’s favorites, and our go to anytime we have left over mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. It’s a simple recipe, easy to make ahead and, thanks to a bit of Ultra Gel to hold it all together, even freezes well.You can use various vegetables in it, though I’ll give you measurements with string beans.

Shepherd pie is also sometimes called cottage pie and is very popular in the UK. Some of the earliest recipes featured ground lamb and whatever veggies were available. I tend towards ground turkey or beef because those are easier to come by, but if you have lamb on hand, give it a try!

This recipe is gluten free and you can make it with more vegetables and no meat for a vegetarian option! Change over the cheese for a soy cheese and you’re dairy free and vegan too. I love a recipe with options!

shepherd pie

Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

1 pound ground meat (turkey, lamb, beef or a combination)

1 medium onion, diced

1 can tomato soup (I prefer low sodium)

2-3 cups drained string beans (These can be home canned or store purchased. I also like adding diced carrots or zucchini squash if I have them on hand. It’s a good way to clean out your veggies)

1 small can tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes or potatoes, thinned slightly

1/2-1 cup shredded cheese

In a medium saucepan brown ground meat and onion until meat is cooked through and onion is transparent and soft. Drain grease. Add soup, vegetables, tomato sauce and water and mix well. Add Ultra Gel and spices and cook until ingredients are warmed through. You can adjust the amount of Ultra Gel depending on how thick you want your mixture. Sometimes when you add extra vegetables it will increase the moisture level of the mix and you’ll want extra Ultra Gel to keep the mixture at the thickeness of a thick stew. Remove meat mixture to a 9×9 inch baking dish. Cover with potatoes and top with cheese. (If freezing, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and date. Freeze for upto 4 months).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until all ingredients are warmed through and cheese has melted.

Serve warm.

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