Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

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 Recipe

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

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 Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • For the beef ragout
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 6 ounces or 170 grams)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound 2 ounces (500 grams) ground beef
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) 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 (125 ml) red wine
  • For the mashed sweet potato topping
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 small)
  • 26 ounces (750 grams) sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk, warmed
  • Grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 handful finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 10 grams)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Make the beef ragout
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Helen Wang

Jan 11, 2017

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.

Angie R.

Jan 11, 2017

I was very pleasantly surprised by this sweet potato cottage pie. I thought it might be bland without the usual other vegetables but was pleased with the rich gravy that the tomato paste and wine produced. The sweet potato topping made for a rich taste and a healthier option than plain white potatoes. It makes 4 generous servings but could probably serve 6 with a side. Leftovers, as usual, were even better as the flavors had concentrated. Will definitely make again.

Angie Zoobkoff

Jan 11, 2017

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.

Comments

    1. Glad to hear you like the looks of it as much as we did when we first saw the recipe, Michelle! Yes, you must try it!

  1. Love that you drew the distinction between a Shepherd’s Pie and a Cottage Pie. There just aren’t that many people who shepherd cows.

    I made a version with leftovers from the Christmas crown roast of pork. Threw in a few leftover stuffed mushrooms with the gravy and the pork. Yummy! Would that be a Sty Pie?

    1. Hah! Rainey, I think I love you. Since you’re the creator of your riff on the recipe, we’re going to let you call it whatever you want, although yes, Sty Pie sounds perfect. (I grew up on a farm in Iowa and yes, we raised hogs, and I’m impressed you know the term “sty”! Not so common these days!) Looking forward, as always, to your next comment…

  2. This sounds like a delicious meal, also one that would work with my limited budget. I have no aversion to using wine in my cooking I was wondering if there is something I could use in place of the wine that will still give me as good a taste?

    1. Alexis, so glad to hear this recipe calls out to you! And yes, it is definitely a lovely way to stretch your food budget. I would suggest you use some really good, preferably homemade, beef stock in place of the wine. You’ll end up with a slightly different flavor profile but it will still be rich and lovely. You may want to cut back on the tomato paste just a little bit since it may be more apparent without the wine to mask its acidity.

  3. I made this last night and it was absolutely fantastic. My 13 year old daughter ate two servings, and I had to force myself to stop at one. Of the 8 of us, only one didn’t like it – but he likes nothing except pizza and chicken nuggets, so his opinion doesn’t really count.

    The recipe was spot on and we doubled it with no issues at all.

    1. Carmen, that’s magnificent to hear, thank you so much for taking the time to let us know you loved it as much as we did! You made our day, thank you!

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