Healthy Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Mashed Potatoes

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Rain has finally come to the Bay Area! It has rained almost every day this week and it is the most rain we have seen all winter! When it is cold, wet, and gloomy outside, nothing is better than a warm comfort meal to heat up my body!

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It may seem strange that I chose to make Shepherd’s Pie as my comfort meal, but I first became aware of Shepherd’s Pie from my (Chinese) family’s kitchen. I seriously had no idea it was a traditional Irish dish until we had a bite of our friend’s Shepherd’s Pie ordered in a local Irish pub. Nevertheless, I associate Shepherd’s Pie with my family’s kitchen, especially the way they prepare it, which is vastly different than the way I had it in the pub.

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And with St. Patty’s Day just around the corner (tomorrow), I thought I’d post this recipe for those looking for a healthier, slightly spicy, and fiber-filled version to celebrate the holiday!

Double bonus: I also learned how to cook mashed potatoes – my second (successful) recipe from How to Boil Water!

Note: I halved both recipes to serve the two of us and the pictures on this post reflect the smaller portions.

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Sweet Mashed Potatoes

The Goods:

  • 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Black pepper, to taste

The Steps:

After scrubbing, boiling, draining, and cooling the potatoes, I peeled the skin off with a knife. The potato was super hot but this allowed the skin to come off real easy!

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Then, I quartered the potatoes and put them back in the pan. I added melted butter to the pan and began mashing the potatoes with a fork. Even though the potatoes were soft, it was a lot of work to get all the lumps out! After a few minutes, I decided I wanted mashed potatoes with “a little texture.” (aka lumps) I stirred in the warm milk and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

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Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

The Basics:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6-8

The Goods:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green jalapeno
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon no sodium ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (about two 3” tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sweet mashed potatoes

The Steps:

1. Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, stirring for 10 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno; continue to cook ingredients for two minutes.
3. Raise heat to medium-high. Add turkey and brown, until all turkey is cooked, about five minutes.
4. Add ketchup and chili powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir for two minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until liquid reduces, about 10 minutes. Add corn, black beans, kidney beans, and cilantro. Spoon into large casserole dish – at least 2.5 quarts.
5. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over meat/veggie mixture. Bake in heated oven until brown, about 30-40 minutes. Garnish with more cilantro before serving.

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