I come from an English-Irish upbringing. Shepherd’s Pie was a bit of a staple in our house when I was growing up. You know, that English-Irish-Scottish-whatever type of casserole designed to use up leftovers? I’m not talking about the traditional one that’s done with a lamb mince.
I’m talking about the kind that your mom would whip up with the leftover mashed potatoes and veggies from the night before with some seasoned ground beef because it was a) economical and b) the only way she’d get the kids (you) to eat leftovers. 😉
Needless to say, I love Shepherd’s Pie, or at least the North American version of it. The only problem is, I don’t make it too often because we try to limit how often we’re eating red meat (especially of the ground persuasion) and with the starchy potatoes, it’s not exactly the healthiest of dishes.
Not wanting to give it up entirely in my quest to eat healthy, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had some sweet potatoes in the cupboard and ground chicken in the fridge that needed to be cooked up; why not do some substitutions? I had no idea how it would turn out, but here’s what I did.
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed
- 3/4 C light cream (5%)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp each: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice
- 2 packages extra lean ground chicken (approx 1.5-2 lbs)
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped or grated
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 2 C water
- 1 Tbsp sage
- 2 packages Clubhouse turkey gravy mix (25% less salt)
- 1 C frozen peas
- 1 can peaches & cream corn niblets
- In a large dutch oven pot, boil the sweet potatoes until they are fork-tender. Drain and pour back into dutch oven.
- Add cream, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Mash this up until well mashed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if you like. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Pour water into another pot. Add the chicken, celery, carrot, garlic powder, Worchestershire sauce and sage. Cook over a medium heat, using a clean potato masher to help break up the meat and mix the whole thing together. Meat will not get brown like ground beef. Just make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.
- Once the meat is cooked, add the gravy mixes and mix this up well until the powder is dissolved. Heat for a minute until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Place a rectangular glass casserole dish on a baking sheet (to prevent spillage) and spray the inside of the casserole dish with non-stick spray. Pour the meat mixture into the glass dish and even it out with a spoon or rubber spatula.
- Evenly spread the peas and corn over the meat mixture.
- Carefully spread the sweet potato mash over the meat and vegetables, spreading it out to cover the entire casserole.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until gravy is nice and bubbly.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool a little, then serve.
The sweet potatoes do not crisp up like regular potatoes, so don’t leave it in the oven longer hoping to crisp it up.
Makes about 12 servings. Nutrition amounts is per serving.