When I was doing the shopping for Thanksgiving, I ended up with more sweet potatoes than we needed.  I suppose I could do what some folks have done – just bring them back to the store(s) where I bought them and say I want my money back because I didn’t need them – but I’d rather find fun and new ways of cooking something.

I’m weird that way.

Fortuitously, the latest issue of Fine Cooking Magazine arrived with several sweet potato recipes.  And even more fortuitous is that we both really like sweet potatoes.

There was a recipe for Sweet Potato Cottage Pie that really seemed like fun.  I’ve made cottage pies for years but the seasonings in this were different from what I usually make.

I decided to give it a try.

I’m really glad I did!  Victor totally cleaned his plate ooohing and ahhing all the while.

I followed the recipe as written except I added fresh green beans and used arbol chile powder in place of the ancho.  I had a really nice kick to it!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

For the sweet potato topping

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb. total)
  • /2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt and
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the filling

  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ancho chile powder or other pure chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped raisins or dried cranberries

Prepare the topping:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and set them cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until very tender, about 30 minutes

When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and beat with an electric hand mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Prepare the filing

Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef, season with 2 tsp. salt, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but about 1 Tbs. of the fat; return the pan to the heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a small bowl and crush them with your hands or a fork. Add the tomatoes to the meat and cook, uncovered, until thick, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the olives and raisins and cook for another minute; season to taste with salt.
Assemble and bake the pie

Tip: You can use another size dish for baking the pie, but keep in mind that the thickness of the meat and sweet potato layers will change, which may affect the baking time.

Transfer the beef mixture to a 9×9-inch baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes over the top in an even layer. Bake until bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Switch the oven to a high-broil setting and position the rack about 6 inches from the broiler element. Broil the pie until the sweet potatoes are a bit browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


This really did work well.  The potato topping was great and worked perfectly with the the spicy filling.

I have a feeling I’ll be making this one again.

And to think…  If I had brought those potatoes back, I never would have tried this.

Lucky me!