In most people’s minds comfort food is all about stick-to-your-ribs heavy food that isn’t necessarily good for you. One of my favourite comfort foods in the cold depths of winter is a hearty and healthy shepherd’s pie; I’ve experimented with a few vegetarian versions and looked at using different toppings such as cauliflower mash and root vegetable mash, all turned out delicious.
Last week I was out of root vegetables to make my usual shepherd’s pie topping, mashed carrots really didn’t appeal to me or Alfie. What I did have lots of though is sweet potatoes and we really enjoy sweet potato fries in our house to regular potato fries. I wasn’t sure how the traditional meat filling of the shepherd’s pie would hold up next to the more exotic sweet potato, so I decided to put my own sunshine spin on it and give it a Caribbean edge.
- 400 g lamb mince (you could use beef, turkey, pork, chicken or soya mince)
- 430 g pasata
- Thumb size peice of grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 celery sticks
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp all spice
- 1 tsp all purpose seasoning
- juice of half a lime
- Enough sweet potato mash to cover
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
In a saucepan fry off the red onion and the mince until cooked through.
Add the celery, carrots, ginger, garlic and spices and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring now and then.
Pour in the pasata, lime juice and coconut sugar, stir and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer the pie filling into an oven proof dish and allow to cool a little before adding the sweet potato mash topping.
Spread the already prepared sweet potato mash topping over the filling.
Cook in the oven for at least 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling.
Serve with your favourite accompaniments and enjoy!
Generally, like lots of cuisines, Caribbean food follows the sweet, sour and hot rule. In this dish, you have the sweet from the coconut sugar (you could you brown sugar), the sour from the lime juice and the hot (depending on your spiceometer) from the dried chilli flakes. All three ingredients add a lovely balance of flavours to the meat filling.
I’ve used lamb mince in this dish, which is typical of a shepherd’s pie, but you could use beef, turkey, chicken and even pork mince. To make this a vegetarian meal then you could use soya mince or add beans and lentils, just like my recipe. The best thing about this dish is that there are always leftovers, we had enough for another 2 servings the next day. Happy cooking!
Do you like fusion food? Which of your favourite dishes would you like to put a culinary spin on?