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Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie, wait!

Sweet potato topped shepherds pie is gluten free and delicious
Sweet potato topped cottage pie. Gluten-free.


A certain individual living by the mesa has some news. Can you guess? We sold the house. We're moving lock, stock and barrel (in reality, more like Macs, books and UGGS) to Los Angeles, packing up the Honda Fit again to head West and start our new life as Los Angelenos.

I am almost too wired to write.

The quasi-plan is to rent a furnished place for a month. In mid October. Once we're out there, we'll begin our search in earnest for a longer lease- a space we can call our own, not too far from the ocean, I hope. A place with a workable kitchen. Windows. Light. Simple criteria.

As I sort through art books to sell (all the impressionist/landscape books I once mooned over- like a school girl- no longer tug at my attention) I am imagining the new again. I am fueled by the scent of possibility and change and consumed with the urge for going. Three and a half years in the desert have inked their big sky imprint upon me.

I feel as if I sport an invisible tattoo.

Time and distance will reveal the wisdom gained here (if any is to be found). Time and distance will temper the losses. No doubt memory itself will soften the sharp hungers of the everyday isolation and doubt.

Some readers have asked me, What lesson did you need to learn? implying that there is a silver lining to every prickly, dark experience and that if we only embrace The Lesson, we'll be free.

Well, I can answer that. 

I have learned I am not a stoic at heart. Days invested in simply enduring feel like lost days to me. I have learned that loneliness is not a virtue. Or a weakness. It's just a feeling. I have learned that the stark isolation of the desert s not my muse. I miss people watching. I miss chance encounters. I miss the smells of coffee shops and bookstores.

So forgive me if I reprise an archived recipe today. I am distracted beyond the usual- and hungry for comfort food I can make ahead and forget. I'm craving simple soups and casseroles and slow cooked stews. Which explains this new shepherd's pie I threw together. 

With sweet potatoes.

Technically? It's a rancher's pie. Or what some might dub a cottage pie. Though traditional cottage pie recipes favor the combo of peas and carrots. I changed it up with Mediterranean flavors. Does that mean this is a Mediterranean ranch pie?

I'm just digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole, aren't I? 



This sweet potato shepherds pie is like a healthy cottage pie
This sweet potato cottage pie is omnivore comfort food.



Karina's Sweet Potato Cottage Pie Recipe

Not exactly a typical cottage pie. And shepherd implies a lamb. My recipe uses Black Angus beef. Perhaps I should have called this a rancher's pie. Obviously. What was I thinking? Wait. Do rancher's grow zucchini and artichokes?

Ingredients:

For the topping:

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A dash of nutmeg
A drizzle of fruity olive oil, to taste
Plain hemp milk (or moo cow milk, if you like), as needed

For the filling:

1.5 pounds ground Black Angus beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 small to medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into pieces
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut up
1 14-oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons raw organic agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until under fork tender and mashable.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch:

Saute the ground Angus beef in a large hot skillet till lightly browned; pour off the fat; return the skillet to the stove. Add in the onions and garlic; stir and cook for five minutes or until the onions are soft.

Add in the zucchini; stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the artichokes and tomatoes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, agave, dried herbs and cinnamon. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced a bit. Remove from heat.

Back to the sweet potatoes:

Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them lightly. Season with sea salt, ground pepper and nutmeg. Drizzle with a little fruity olive oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of hemp milk and stir until smooth and fluffy.

Layer the beef and veggie mixture in a casserole or baking dish (or four individual gratin dishes, like I did).

Top with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until bubbling and hot- about 25 minutes.

Serves 4.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Karina's Tip:

Obviously, if you don't care for zucchini or artichokes, change them out for veggies you like. Though this combo is delicious with the spicy diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

More Shepherd's Pie Inspired Recipes:


Karina's Veggie Lover's Shepherd's Pie
Elise's Easy Shepherd's Pie at Simply Recipes
Kalyn's Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan and Goat Cheese
I Am Gluten-Free serves Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Susan's vegan Skillet Gardner's Pie at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Sea's Veggie Pot Pie recipe at Book of Yum

Karina