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This recipe for Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes is a riff on a classic favorite and is an easy dinner idea that’s quick enough to prepare on weekdays.
What is Shepherd’s Pie?
Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is a seasoned mixture of ground lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and, often, melted cheese. Ground beef is the more common ingredient used in most home kitchens, though that technically morphs a Shepherd’s Pie into a Cottage Pie.
This recipe is… neither of those things. My intention for this dish was two-fold. I wanted to make a slightly healthier version with a little less calories and starchy carbs, so I chose to use ground turkey and sweet potatoes. Instead of creating a casserole out of the ingredients, I chose to top oven-baked sweet potatoes – which are amazing – with the seasoned meat mixture. Then I topped the stuffed potatoes with shredded cheese and popped it under the boiler to get everything hot and melty.
What Do These Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Taste Like?
I understand that people shy away from cooking with lean ground turkey because it dries out readily, quickly, and easily. But I’ve found that if you use it in the right recipes – ones where the turkey will be cooked into a sauced mixture with other veggies and flavors – you can avoid the dried out texture and still reap the benefits of using the leaner protein. These stuffed sweet potatoes are a perfect dish for using lean ground turkey. All of the basic flavors of a traditional Shepherd’s Pie are in the filling – tomato, Worcestershire sauce, peas, carrots – but the potato layer has a more robust flavor through the use of sweet potatoes. Baking them in the oven – far superior to the microwave – makes the skin nice and crispy and the flesh tender and almost caramelized. Use of a mild cheese on top brings the whole thing together.
Can I Substitute Ingredients In This Recipe?
Totally! If you don’t have ground turkey or don’t want to use it, go ahead and use ground beef or lamb. You can also use regular baked potatoes, though I encourage you to try the sweet potatoes. They add a dimension that elevates the classic flavor profile of a Shepherd’s Pie.
I hope you’ll try this easy dinner idea – you might just find it’s one of your new favorites! Enjoy!
|Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes|| |
- 5 or 6 large sweet potatoes
- Olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- ½ of a large sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas and chopped carrots
- 1 cup (approximate) Shredded cheese of choice (I recommend mild cheddar, colby jack, or mozzarella), enough to sprinkle over potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to make cleaning up easier. Scrub the sweet potatoes, pat dry, and prick all over with a fork. Rub them with a small amount of olive oil, place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for about an hour or until the insides of the potato are very tender when pierced with a knife.
- During the last half of the baking process, Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and fragrant, and then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the ground turkey to the skillet and break into small pieces with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and cook until almost no pink remains. Add the thyme, tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire, and the frozen peas and carrots. Mix everything together and lower heat to a simmer and allow to cook while the potatoes finish baking.
- When the potatoes are done, slice them open and use a fork to fluff up the insides.
- Switch oven over to Broil. Taste the turkey mixture and adjust seasonings as needed. Top the potatoes with the turkey mixture and then sprinkle on the cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and melty.
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