Why do I love Shepherd’s Pie? Because the “crust” is made with potatoes and not a traditional pie crust (and I love potatoes!). This recipe is a variation on the traditional Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) which is made with ground beef or lamb and topped with plain mashed potatoes. Here a mixture of Italian sausage is substituted for the ground meat and the crust is made from sweet potatoes, butternut squash and russet potatoes. It makes for a more complex flavor.
I shared this recipe with my friend, Michele M, many years ago. Each year right around St. Patrick’s Day I receive an email from her letting me know that she’s pulled out this recipe to make in honor of the holiday.
|Sausage Shepherd's Pie|| |
- 1-1/2 pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1-1/2 pounds Italian sausage (mix of hot and sweet), casings removed
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- ¾ cup frozen corn kernels
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 6 drops hot pepper sauce
- Cook sweet potatoes, squash and russet potato in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes.
- Drain and return all potatoes and squash to same saucepan.
- Mash potatoes and squash using a potato ricer (which is what I use), electric mixer or by hand (or however you mash potatoes) being careful to not over mash them. Add butter and syrup and season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. They should be smooth when done.
- Lightly oil a 8x8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Cook sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl; reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet.
- Add onions and garlic to skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until onions are tender and golden, about 7 minutes.
- Add onion mixture to sausage.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Let mixture cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Mix in peas, corn, cream, egg, curry powder, coriander and hot sauce.
- Transfer sausage mixture to prepared baking dish.
- Spoon mashed potato mixture over; smooth top.
- Bake until heated through and potatoes begin to brown around edges, about 45 minutes.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
* Time savers: If you can find Italian sausage patties (rather than links) use those as you can skip the step of removing the casings. Also, look for butternut squash that is already cut up. Both are are available at Wegmans.