I’m not Irish, not even a little bit. I know this because my dad has written not one but TWO books on our genealogy. What a treasure those books are. To know where you’ve come from and to have stories (some first-hand) about your family members is such a unique gift. Despite my lack of Irish heritage, my parents have always encouraged exploring cultures through food. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than by taking a new twist on a classic Irish dish?
Shepherd’s pie is one of those ultimate comfort foods. Am I right? It is so rich, warm and flavorful. Traditionally, this dish is made with lamb but s a vegetarian, I had to make my own version. I subbed the meat with a ton baby bella mushrooms but kept the basics for the sauce. To make this a bit healthier and to add a level of sweetness, I swapped the potatoes for sweet potatoes. The result turned out to be glorious! I could have eaten half the casserole dish by myself!
- To save time the on the day you plan to make this, chop all your vegetables the night before.
- Be patient. It takes some time for the liquid to reduce but give it the time it deserves so you don’t end up with soup under the sweet potatoes.
Baby Bella Shepherd’s Pie
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup half & half
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 large carrots, cut into ¼” slices
2lb baby bella mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups peas
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain potatoes and move them to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with butter and half & half until potatoes are smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add carrots, cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Cook until mushrooms start to sweat. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and stir until evenly coated. Add peas then pour in vegetable broth and wine. Stir in tomato paste and increase heat to bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until liquids reduce to a gravy-like texture.
Pour vegetable mixture into a greased 9”x13” casserole dish. Spread sweet potatoes over vegetables, making sure potatoes reach the edges of the dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.