This is the farmers market version of a healthy and hearty shepherd's pie. Traditionally a shepherd's pie, or cottage pie, was made using leftover meats, particularly lamb, and topped with a potato crust. It was short on veggies and laden with unnecessary fat. Take a gander the ingredients in this version of a Shepherd's Garden Pie -
Why this mix of veggies - it's what I had on hand in the produce drawer after a big shop at the farmers markets. Colorful and nutritious - everyone will love this version. The secret flavor ingredient - smoked paprika - - - it pairs perfectly with the sweet potatoes that act to bind all of the ingredients together.
What you need:
1 pound ground lamb (you can make this vegetarian simply by eliminating the meat - I made a vegan version last week and it was excellent!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
4 - 5 cups of veggies (I used a combination of broccoli, carrots, Romanesco, red pepper, green beans and yellow squash); cut into bite-sized pieces
2 - 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
4 - 5 potatoes for the crust (I used Peruvian Blue for fun!) , sliced very thin - use a mandolin if you have one
4 ounces of cheese (I used cheddar - you can omit if you are going vegan)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and Papper to taste
1. In a hot skillet, brown the lamb. I like to brown until bits of the lamb have crisped. 2. Add the onions and garlic to the lamb when browned. Cook until onions are translucent. Transfer the lamb to a bowl. Discard excess fat from the browning - you need about 1 tbsp. of fat in the pan to proceed. 3. Add the prepared veggies to the pan and cook over medium high heat for about 6 - 8 minutes until ever-so-slightly tender. I add the sturdier veggies first as they require a longer cooking time to soften, finishing with the more delicate veggies toward the end. Stir periodically to loosen the browned bits of lamb in the pan. 4. Add the lamb back to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the smoked paprika to the mashed sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add 2 ounces grated cheese, stir to combine. Add the lamb veggie mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes and combine well. Transfer the mixture to a pie plate that has been coated with either butter or a spritz of olive oil. Using your potato slices, create a crust - leaving a center opening to allow for perfect cooking. Top with 2 ounces of grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 for 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!