Shepherd’s Pie recipes have never really enticed me, maybe its the heaviness of all that ground meat, cream and white potatoes that loses my interest. But when I saw this untraditional version with sweet potatoes, lentils, and veggies galore, I was finally intrigued to give it a try! I pumped this one up even more with mushrooms, greens and a little chipotle pepper in adobe sauce mixed into the sweet potatoes. The end result was great! The lentils provided the perfect meaty texture that balanced well with the smoky sweet potatoes and spiced veggies and inevitably created a wonderfully healthy, yet hearty winter meal or side dish. While cook time is on the longer side, this dish can easily be prepared in advance as it tasted even better the next day!
Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Sauce Magazine
Serves 4 to 6
2 lb sweet potatoes
1 c. whole green or brown lentils, rinsed
2 1⁄4 c. vegetable broth
1⁄4 c. Guinness Extra Stout
1 TBSP vegetable oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 1⁄2 c. spinach, sliced
1⁄2 tsp salt, divided
pinch of white pepper
2-3 tsp chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced (*NOTE – Since no one uses a whole can of these at once, just blend up the rest, pour into a Ziploc and freeze.)
1 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, place on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. Once finished, remove and allow potatoes to cool. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting, bring the lentils, broth and beer to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once at a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the celery, carrots, onion and mushrooms. Saute about 10 minutes then stir in the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Next, add the can of diced tomatoes, spinach, 1/4 tsp salt, a sprinkling of white pepper and the cooked lentils, then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Once sweet potatoes have cooled, slip off the skins. In a large bowl mash the potatoes and stir in 1/4 tsp salt, a bit of white pepper, the chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, butter, and cheese.
- Pour the lentil mixture into a 2-qt baking dish and then spread the sweet potatoes over it. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.