Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day by adding a Southern twist to this traditionally Irish dish.

Recipes and Styling by Sarah Mccullen | Photographed by Joe Worthem

Here in America, many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with traditional Irish food and drink. This coming March 17, try marking the holiday with a festive family dinner featuring shepherd’s pie, but add this decidedly Southern twist: Instead of the traditional topping of mashed potatoes, use sweet potatoes, a crop that thrives in Mississippi, including in nearby Vardaman — known as the sweet potato capital of the world.

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes

2 pounds ground beef, turkey or lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion

4 stalks celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 cups chicken broth

1 (12-ounce) package frozen peas and carrots

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake sweet potatoes whole on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool.

In a large ovenproof skillet, cook ground meat until browned; drain meat, and transfer to a plate. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion, celery and garlic, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, allspice, rosemary, paprika and chili powder, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 to 3 more minutes. Return meat to skillet, and stir in tomato paste and chicken broth. Add frozen peas and carrots, and simmer, about 10 minutes.

Peel sweet potatoes, and beat potatoes and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until mashed. Remove skillet from heat, and gently spread mashed sweet potatoes over the top. Transfer skillet to preheated oven, and bake until bubbly around edges, about 25-30 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and serve.

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