Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Shepard's Pie

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. The same might as well be said of creating new recipes.

Like I said, my father's out of town. That's when my mother and I normally treat ourselves to everything that he won't eat – things like spinach, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. This time, though, we have to work around my sister's birthday and my work schedule. Sure, he'll be gone for five dinners, but only two of them can my mother and I choose what we eat and eat together. And we have to squeeze in one of his least favorite restaurants while we're at it.

I was browsing recipes a couple of weeks ago on Food52, looking for a creative non-pasta ground beef dish. After seeing not much besides pasta, stuffed peppers and Shepard's Pie, I came across this Sweet Potato Cottage Pie.

I'm not a huge fan of Shepard's Pie or Cottage Pie, typically, and it's not just that I don't really care for ground beef. I think it's the fact that it was one of the few meals my father felt comfortable cooking, meaning back when my mother worked retail when I was a kid, we'd eat it for days on end. Still, it got me thinking. And it kind of took off.

I found a few Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie recipes on the internet – here and here – but when I realized the limited time we'd have to squeeze our favorite foods in, I started taking inspiration from each, adding the broccoli, and making it into something new:

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Shepard's Pie
Inspired by this and this and this recipe
Serves 6

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 oz cream cheese
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chopped broccoli

  • Preheat oven to 350. In a medium size pot, boil sweet potato until tender.
  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce and spices. Spread in a baking dish. Top with broccoli and set aside.
  • Mash sweet potato with cream cheese, salt and pepper with a potato masher or electric mixer. Spread over meat and broccoli
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Dare I say I think I actually created something original here? And you know what, it was good. Darn good, in fact. I had to resist eating seconds. Plus, my mother even told me to freeze a helping to save for my aunt.

It's kind of sad that my father won't eat it. For as much effort as it was, I want to make it again. Two thumbs up, easily. Only because I only have two thumbs.

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