Try a delicious variation of the classic comfort food; shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes. This recipe features a rich, flavorful filling made with ground beef, bell pepper, carrots, and mushrooms. The creamy mashed sweet potato topping adds the perfect finishing touch to this dish. Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy dinner or looking for a tasty twist on a classic, this shepherd’s pie is sure to satisfy any cravings for belly-warming, satisfying dishes.
Shepherd’s pie has long been a beloved comfort food of mine because it’s a complete meal in one dish. It’s got protein. It’s got veggies and carbs. Serve it with a light salad and you are good to go!
Although it can be a bit time-consuming to prepare, it’s well worth the effort for a satisfying weekend meal. While it may not be the quickest option for a weeknight dinner, it’s perfect for indulging in a little extra comfort and warmth on a cozy evening at home.
While this take on shepherd’s pie (or cottage pie) isn’t traditional, you can try my lamb shepherd’s pie for something more typical.
Why this recipe works
I tried to take a few shortcuts to make this recipe easier; the ground beef and vegetables all get cooked at the same time as you’re making the mashed potato topping.
I also like to use a cast iron skillet because this can cook the topping on the stovetop and then easily be transferred directly to the oven, reducing the number of dishes used–win!
Ingredients you’ll need
- For the filling you’ll need some ground beef, you could also use ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey, depending on your preference.
- For veggies in the filling, I like to load it up with onion, carrot, green bell pepper, mushrooms and peas. This adds lots of flavor to the filling and I love adding extra veggies to the filling to bulk it up.
- For flavor, I use garlic along with some dried herbs and spices. For herbs, thyme or oregano add slight floral and herbaceous notes. For spices, I like chili powder and paprika which add a bit of depth and complexity to the dish. I also like to add tomato paste and balsamic vinegar for umami and acidity, to help balance the dish.
- For the topping it’s a simple combination of sweet potato, milk, butter and salt.
Step by step instructions for sweet potato topping
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes and boil until they are very tender about 12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Mash with a potato masher or ricer, and stir with butter, milk and ½ teaspoon salt.
Step by step instructions for making the beef filling
- In a large oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add beef, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, carrot, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently until the beef is browned and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, dried thyme and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook until tomato paste has darkened and the spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and water, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in peas.
- Spread the sweet potato mixture over top of the filling, bake for 10 minutes and broil for 2-3 minutes until filling is bubbling around the sides and top has browned slightly.
- I recommend making this in a 12-inch cast iron skillet so that you can cook everything in one skillet.
- For the topping, you can do a combination of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes, just follow the same method but swap in ½ lb of yellow potatoes.
- Instead of water, you can use beef broth as the liquid in the filling. You can also swap out the herbs, dried rosemary is delicious in the filling.
More sweet potato recipes
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowl
- Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry
- Miso Sweet Potatoes
- Baked sweet potatoes on the barbecue