Now that fall is here it is time to make all the warm, comforting recipes that are usually forgotten in the summertime. At the advice of a wise friend I spent my last few weeks before baby prepping meals for postpartum. These meals needed to be easy to reheat, large enough to last for lunches the next day, filling, and of course packed with nutrients. A simple family favorite fit the bill: Shepard’s pie.
This old and humble dish also known as “cottage pie” or “hachis Parmentier,” was traditionally made using leftover stewed meats, specifically lamb, and topped with mashed potatoes or cheese. This version uses ground beef and is topped with sweet potatoes. As with any recipe, feel free to take liberties to alter it to your liking or ingredients found on hand. Sometimes the meat mixture will contain leftover veggies or if sweet potatoes are not available for the topping, regular potatoes work just fine.
The Secret Ingredient
The one ingredient I always add to this dish is liver! It has now become standard in our home to add organ meats to any ground meat dish. I am constantly striving to feed my family the most nutrient dense foods possible and adding chopped up liver to the ground beef is one way to to accomplish that. If you are still skeptical about why eating liver is beneficial and healthy, take the time to read this post, and this, and this.
Enjoy this simple and humble dish on a brisk day when your family craves a warm and nourishing meal.Print
Ground meat dish topped with mashed sweet potatoes (or mashed potatoes). Main dish
2lbs of ground beef
1/2 lb of raw, chopped liver (chicken or beef)
1 onion, minced
1 TBL of cumin
3–5 medium sized sweet potatoes
3 TBL of butter/cream (for mashed sweet potatoes)
1 tsp of cinnamon
Bacon grease, butter, or ghee for cooking onion
Salt and pepper for seasoning
baking dish, 9×13 preferred
optional toppings: bacon and fresh parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Place a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove.
3. While the water is boiling, peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes. It doesn’t need to be perfect as they will be mashed.
4. Once the water is boiling, add the sweet potatoes to the pot.
5. While the sweet potatoes are boiling, mince the onion.
6. Sauté onion in bacon grease until soft and translucent. Once the onion is soft, add in the 2lbs of ground meat and brown in the skillet.
7. Once the meat has browned, add in 1 TBL of cumin
8. At the end, add in the raw, chopped livers. Stir the meat mixture until the livers have been incorporated.
9. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off stove.
10. Remove the boiled sweet potatoes from the water and place into a bowl or a food processor to mash.
11. Mash the sweet potatoes along with 1tsp of cinnamon and 3TBL of butter or cream. If using the food processor, pulse until well mashed and incorporated.
12. Season mashed sweet potatoes with salt and pepper.
13. Assemble the pie in the baking dish. Begin by placing ALL the meat from the sauté pan in the baking dish as the bottom layer. Cover the bottom of the baking dish completely with the meat.
14. Top the ground meat with the mashed sweet potato. Use a spatula to spread the mashed sweet potato over the meat until it is completely covered.
15. Once assembled, pop the pie in the oven for about 20-25min until it has been warmed through and the top of the potatoes get golden brown.
16. Serve hot out of the oven with a side salad and enjoy!
There are many ways to be creative with this dish and use up leftovers. After all, the original history behind this food is making use of leftovers. Feel free to use mashed potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. Add various toppings to the potatoes such as bacon, parsley, pats of butter, nuts, etc. Play around with the spice mixture for the ground meat and add veggies into the meat mixture.
While the dish can be made with only 1lb of ground meat, it will feel heartier and have a more balanced protein to carbohydrate ratio with 2lbs of meat.
For even more flavor and nutrient density, create a gravy using: broth, arrowroot powder, and the browned bits of pan that was used to sauté the meat and onions. Add this gravy to the meat mixture before topping with mashed sweet potatoes.