Sweet potato cottage pie is essentially ground beef simmered in red wine sauce and smothered with mashed sweet potatoes. Comfort food that’s stealthy healthy. Doesn’t get any better than that.
Sweet potato cottage pie. It’s what happens when you make a ragout (which is pretty much a fancy word for beef simmered in red wine), smother it with creamy mashed potatoes, and bake it to golden brown and bubbly gorgeousness. This recipe veers a little from traditional cottage pie with the inclusion of sweet potatoes in the mash, although we kept some russets in there, too, just to keep things being too healthy. The resulting touch of sweetness melds perfectly with the richness of the ragout. And actually, the ragout is so lovely that you can skip the casserole part those nights when you’re pressed for time and simply toss it with some pasta you boiled while the sauce cooks.–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
What’s The Difference Between Cottage Pie And Shepherd’s Pie?
You’ve probably heard of shepherd’s pie. And obviously you’ve heard of cottage pie. Both are economical yet enticing casseroles that stretch your meat dollars so you can frugally feed a family. And both are essentially a meat ragout, or stew, smothered with mashed potatoes. The only difference is that shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb whereas cottage pie is made with beef.
Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
For the beef ragout
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 6 oz onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 pound 2 ounces ground beef
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato purée paste (or substitute regular store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- Small pinch ground cinnamon
- Small pinch grated nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup red wine
For the mashed sweet potato topping
- 9 ounces russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 small)
- 26 ounces sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk warmed
- Grated nutmeg (optional)
- 1 handful finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the beef ragout
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and crumbling it with a spoon, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Spoon off and discard any fat and season the beef with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the tomato purée paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, and wine to the pan and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
Make the mashed sweet potato topping
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the potatoes and sweet potatoes, cutting them into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) chunks. Toss them in the boiling water and cook until tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter and begin to mash with a handheld potato masher or the back of a sturdy spoon. Gradually add the warm milk, the nutmeg (if using), and the Parmesan cheese. Mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the sweet potato cottage pie
- Scrape the ground beef mixture into a 2-quart (1.9-liter) casserole or other ovenproof dish, such as an 8 1/2-by-11-inch baking dish and smother it with the mashed potatoes. Slide the dish in the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before scooping and serving straight from the dish.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This sweet potato cottage pie is a simple recipe for a cozy and delicious dish! I really enjoyed the mashed sweet potatoes paired with the ragout. I might actually try what the author suggested and serve just the ragout with pasta as I really enjoyed its flavor. The timing in the recipe was spot on.The leftovers heat up quite well in the microwave and are still delicious. The recipe was done and dusted in a little over an hour.
We all loved the richness of the meat and the sweetness that the sweet potato added to the mashed potatoes. At first it seemed like there was way too much mash compared to meat, but I think it really worked in this sweet potato cottage pie—and is probably more accurate of traditional cottage pie.
Originally published January 30, 2017