Isn’t it funny how some meals have such strong memories attached to them? For me this Rainbow Shepherd’s Pie has a strong memory connected to a helpful neighbourhood mom, serious hunger with a post-partum appetite and utter gratitude.
This friendly freezer meal was dropped off on my porch shortly after having baby #2 by a wonderful momstown member, Kelly. I barely knew Kelly at the time but our local momstown chapter had a ‘meals for new mamas’ program and once I was home from the hospital, the meals poured in. One night after a hairy day with the two kids we popped this into the oven to warm up and feel in love with the dish.
Thoughtfully, Kelly had photocopied the recipe from Chatelaine and taped it to the top of the casserole dish in case we wanted to make it again. Which I have! Many times! It’s better for you than the traditional shepherd’s pie with white potato and the sweeter taste is an easier sell to the young ones in our house.
The addition of the sweet potatoes has been a hit. I’ve made this and pureed it up for baby food which has always been gobbled up. Chatelaine doesn’t include carrots or corn but I often include these and steam prior to adding.
Now that the fall weather is changing, this is a perfect dinner to warm up the house on a fall night. If your evenings are rushed, make ahead and warm up at suppertime.
Rainbow Shepherd’s Pie
2 lb sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups 1-inch carrot pieces
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1-1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups frozen peas
1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.
2. Place sweet potatoes in pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to boil and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash. Add milk, 2 tablespoons butter, honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to blend and set aside.
3. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and remaining butter over medium heat. Add carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir frequently and cook until carrots soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer carrots to an 11 x 9-inch deep-sided glass baking dish and place in an even layer.
4. Return skillet to heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and onion. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add ground beef, rosemary, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Break up meat with wooden spoon and cook until browned. Stir in flour; cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and simmer until stock thickens. Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to baking dish and layer on top of carrots. Cover evenly with peas. Top with layered sweet potatoes.
5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until juices bubble. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.