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This shepherds pie is authentic because it is made with lamb; however, I put a twist on the usual by substituting mashed potatoes with a sweet potato purée. A great way to use leftover lamb, this stew has a complex and slightly sweet flavor. The tarragon-studded sweet potatoes add great color and effortlessly meld with the spices and herbs in the stew.

Ingredients:

  • leftover leg of lamb (ground lamb may be used)
  • 1 small bowl of green beans cut in thirds
  • 1 small bowl filled with diced onions
  • 1 small bowl of chopped carrots (I used baby)
  • 1/2 bowl of peppers (I used mini red, yellow, and orange peppers)
  • handful or two of Succotash mix (frozen limas, corn, peppers) I used Trader Joes
  • 1 cup of red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • tomato paste (the tube’s great)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 7 sweet potatoes (mine were small-medium sized)
  • cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper
  • fresh oregano, sage, tarragon, and rosemary (use what you got)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • a little flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. On a sheet pan, generously coat the sweet potatoes in any oil and sprinkle with salt. This will make them easy to peel. Cook for about 30-40 minutes—until the potato is tender all the way through and the skin is wrinkled. These will be mashed and whipped with a hand mixer to incorporate salt, butter, and light brown sugar to taste. Finish by folding in chopped tarragon.

2. Get a  large pot (preferably not non-stick) nice and hot, drizzle in olive oil, and sauté diced white onions and chopped carrots. I used rosemary-infused olive oil♣. Season with salt and pepper and toss in five sprigs of oregano and sage—stemmed and chopped. These are called aromatics—you’ll see why when you smell the kitchen. Add the fresh green beans too with about five garlic cloves, pressed.

3. When the onions just begin to brown, add the succotash and the wine. Bring to a boil and pour in the beef stock. Bruise two sprigs of rosemary with the back of your knife and bring them to the Jacuzzi. Bring this to a boil and change to low heat. A dash of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, and more salt to taste complete the flavor profile. Don’t forget to remove the rosemary.

4. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a pan until it takes on a hazel hue. Incorporate a hefty pinch of flour to make a slurry and add to the stew. Heat until it bubbles and pour the mixture in a casserole dish. Spread on the mash and bake to warm through♥.

This dish is naturally sweet from the cinnamon and tarragon. It’s also very appealing to the eye with vibrant vegetables and bright sweet potatoes. It’s not your average shepherd’s pie.

A square meal.

♣ To make rosemary oil, just let fresh rosemary sit in a jar of oil for a week.

♥ To go above and beyond, pipe the mash on and broil the top, so it is slightly browned.

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