May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night. // Irish Proverb
Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, and in American fashion I decided to take something that’s foreign and tried to make it better. By making it heathy of course!
Pub food is a huge staple in Great Britain and Ireland, with Shepherd’s Pie being one of their more famous dishes. But the traditional dish is made with fatty ground lamb and starchy white potatoes. Delicious, but not inherently the most nutritious. My recipe incorporates 97% lean ground beef, carrots, celery, onion, peas, and mashed sweet potatoes. With these healthy swaps you will not only be getting tons of veggies into one meal, but you are also eliminating a lot of unnecessary fat from this dish.
To make up for the leaner meat, I added beef stock, red wine, and corn starch to thicken up the sauce it was cooking in. Flavorful and oh so tasty! The sweet potatoes in this dish also add a richness that can’t be beat while also providing a healthy dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Beef and Vegetables
1 lb 97% lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef stock
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
S&P to taste
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp milk
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start by washing and peeling your sweet potatoes. Then cut the sweet potatoes into sizable chunks and place them in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.
2. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Once the sweet potatoes are boiling, turn the heat down to medium heat and allow the sweet potatoes to continue to cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.
3. Drain the potatoes and mash with milk, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place your diced carrots, onion, and celery in a large skillet with olive oil, butter, and Herbes de Provence. Cook on medium heat until cooked through and through.
5. Cook ground beef in a separate skillet on medium heat being sure to break the meat into small chunks while it’s cooking. A spatula or wooden spoon would be the best utensil for this. Once all the meat has browned, transfer the ground beef to the pan with the vegetables. Stir in red wine, beef stock, and corn starch/cold water mixture. Allow the vegetables and beef to marry in the saucepan for at least 3-5 minutes before transferring to a greased casserole dish (I used a 9×9 square dish).
6. Top beef and vegetables with the sweet potatoes adding dollops across the top and then smearing being careful not to mix the sweet potatoes into the beef and vegetables (also leaving room on all 4 sides so there isn’t any trapped heat in your pie).
7. Cook the pie in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.
All you need are 6 ingredients and a few hours of patience while it sets in the fridge. It took so much will power to keep myself from cutting a tiny sliver of a slice before dinner, but I resisted and boy was it worth it! This Southern style St. Patrick’s Day was a complete hit.
But it doesn’t have to be an Irish holiday to eat pub style food…
Celebrate the luck of the Irish any old day with my Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie!