A friend of mine went away for Thanksgiving and came back with 40 pounds of sweet potatoes. Last week she unloaded some on me, whoo-hoo! There's nothing like a sudden excess of sweet potatoes laying around to stir the creative juices. Well, I wasn't terribly creative myself, but I found some great sweet potato recipes online. Like this one for Turkey Sweet-Potato Shepherd's Pie by Rachel Ray. It sounded interesting, and with a couple of modifications it turned out pretty good. I might even make mashed sweet potatoes this way (with some chipotle pepper thrown in) regularly because I like them so much. The original recipe called for adding bananas to the potatoes, but trust me, the chipotle is much better. It takes about 30 minutes to get this non-fussy dish on the table from start to finish.
1 tbsp. olive oil
one package ground turkey (about 20 oz.)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp.dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. potato starch
2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
salt and pepper to taste
generous 2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 - 4 tbsp. gravy (above) or chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper, depending on your taste*
Make the filling
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Crumble the ground turkey into the pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, marjoram and thyme. Cook until turkey is browned and vegetables are soft. Turn off the heat, add the frozen peas. Set aside.
Make the gravy
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the potato starch until well-blended. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of gravy into the turkey mixture and stir well. Set aside the remaining gravy. Pour the turkey mixture into a large casserole dish, set aside.
Make the topping
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into medium chunks. Steam until soft, about 10 minutes in the microwave. Mash the sweet potatoes with 2 - 4 tbsp. of the leftover gravy or chicken broth. Add the salt and the ground chipotle and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Spread the sweet potatoes on top of the turkey mixture in the casserole dish.
Place the shepherd's pie under the broiler until topping begins to brown. Remove from oven and serve hot.
*Next time, instead of using ground chipotle I will add a little adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo.