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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Sweet Potato

Mar 14, 2017 03:58PM ● Published by Linda Ditch

“May you always be blessed with walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, a warm cup of tea by the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all that your heart might desire.” — a traditional Irish toast 

Whether your ancestors came from Italy, England, Mexico, Korea, or somewhere in between, everyone becomes a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a day filled with Irish-themed fun, beverages, and, of course, traditional Irish food and drink.

This Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie recipe is adapted from one I first received from The Barley House in Concord years ago. It puts a twist on a traditional shepherd’s pie by using sweet potatoes instead of the white variety. This recipe works with either ground beef or lamb.

“May the leprechauns be near you, 
To spread luck along your way. 
And may all the Irish angels, 
Smile upon you on St. Patrick’s Day.” 
—another Irish toast

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Makes 4 servings

2 lbs ground beef or lamb                    
1/2 onion, diced                                   
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup frozen peas
4 Tbsp flour
2 (14.5-oz) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 oz Irish whiskey, or to taste   
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes  (see below)

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, add onions, and cook until soft. Add ground beef or lamb and spices, and then sauté until cooked through. Add the peas. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, and then pour in the broth and whiskey. Bring to a simmer and cook until desired thickness is reached.

2. Preheat the oven to 350º. Spoon the meat mixture into a casserole dish or individual serving dishes. Cover the top with the mashed sweet potatoes (see below). Place the dish onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake until the sweet potatoes start to brown on top, 20 to 30 minutes.


Sweet Potato Mash

2 lbs sweet potatoes cut into cubes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup half & half
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cover the cubed sweet potatoes with water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until cooked through. Strain potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the butter and half & half, and mash with a potato masher, being careful not to over mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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