This is a recipe born of “not having all the ingredients” ~ a common ailment in my cooking. Or a blessing in disguise, since it forces creativity and I’m always figuring out how to make something new.
We haven’t ever had white potatoes in our house as a married couple, since we’re trying to be as low-carb as possible (most days). We did, however, have some sweet potatoes, bought for some occasion or other over the holidays. And some of those were still hanging around waiting to be used. Charles hates sweet potatoes done “sweet,” so a savory application was needed.
We wanted to have shepherd’s pie, my husband and I. But naturally, we’d just run out of ground lamb a couple weeks ago. (We’ll be inundated with it again in March, when our friendly Mongol hordes ~ otherwise known as sheep ~ finally meet their appointed end.)
So, we improvised. Ground sausage? It’s pretty spicy and intense. Ground beef? A little on the bland side. Well then, how about both?
Voila! Farmer’s Pie!
We set to work. Here you see our potatoes, veggies, and meat all sizzling away merrily on the stove. (Weirdly, the camera turns the burner purple-blue … it’s red in real life, I promise.)
Some cornstarch thickens up the broth nicely.
Mashing the sweet potatoes. We grated the cheese directly into them; we decided that when we do it again, we’ll add cheese on top too. The sweet potatoes’ flavor ran right over the cheese, and you could hardly tell it was there.
Draining the meat after cooking. Charles cooked it until it was dark brown and crispy, which produces great flavor. I’m learning the art of saving animal fat for later cooking applications. Delicious stuff.
The meat and veggies get mixed, layered with the sweet potatoes, and baked. Here it is, coming out of the oven and into our bowls.
Baked, dished, and ready to eat! Pull up a chair and join us, why don’t you?
1 lb. ground pork sausage
1 lb. ground beef
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (12-oz.) bag frozen peas or veggie mix
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups beef stock
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 tsp. cornstarch
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed
splash of milk or cream
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, and/or Monterey Jack)
Cook sausage and beef together in a pan. Drain. Saute’ all vegetables together in olive oil until tender. Add stock, mustard, herbs, 1 tsp. of the salt, and 1/2 tsp. of the pepper. Bring to a simmer. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1 Tbsp. of water and add to vegetables. Cook and stir until thickened.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add the meat to the vegetable mixture and stir well; pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Add the milk or cream to the mashed sweet potatoes, along with the remaining salt and pepper and half of the grated cheese. Mix well; spoon over vegetable and meat mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
This amount would serve 6-8 people for dinner easily; it fed Charles and me for about a week. If you need less, simply halve all the amounts. Also, all spice and herb amounts are to taste; feel free to adjust and/or add others. This is quite a flexible recipe; be creative and enjoy!