Truly a feast for the mouth, if not the eyes; this was a delicious meal that my entire family was happy to eat. Sweet potatoes, vegetables and meat have never before combined in such a fabulous one dish meal in my kitchen. Seasoned with balsamic vinegar and Italian seasonings, all the flavors worked together even better than I had hoped. This meal is certain to be made repeatedly in the future.
Mouthwatering is not the word I typically use to describe a shepherd pie or a cottage pie. This is man food, right? I have never been a big fan of dishes featuring ground beef as a main component. However, we recently switched to buying all-natural grass fed beef from a local ranch and I wanted to give the meat a chance to impress me. It did not let me down. I'm beyond impressed and can hardly wait to try a couple of different cuts next week.
recipe adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Yield: 5-6 servings
2 medium-large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 large yellow onion
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 14 ounce can of sliced stewed tomatoes
optional: 2-3 tablespoons diced roasted green chiles, this added some depth to the flavor, but absolutely no heat at all
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
dash of nutmeg
milk, adjust as needed, I used about 2-3 tablespoons
Set a medium size pan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1" pieces. Add them to the water on the stove and sprinkle salt into the pot with them. Cook until fork tender, this should take less than 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook and crumble the ground beef over medium heat. When it is almost browned, drain off any fat and add the onions, garlic and carrots. Cook about 5 more minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes and press them with the back of a spoon to release the juices and break them into bite size pieces. Add the green chiles if desired, the vinegar, parsley, basil, thyme and cinnamon. Cook until the liquid is reduced. Taste and then season with salt and pepper. Adjust as desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the potatoes and mash gently with a potato masher. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Add just a splash of milk and stir until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy.
Layer the beef mixture into a baking dish and then top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Enjoy!