Moroccan Shepherd's Pie with Roasted Garlic Sweet Potato Mash

Winter has finally arrived in London! Not that I am ecstatic about it but somehow it feels right to finally dig my winter coat, gloves and ear muffles out of my wardrobe. I had missed them, had you not? 

The weather forecasts are predicting very cold and rainy days ahead of us. Weeelllll, more precisely they are predicting a storm, the Jonas storm. You know the one that hit NYC a few days ago. But unlike our dear Big Apple we won’t get any snow, just rain. So it will be a Jonas storm, the British way, or at least for London.

More seriously, it does sound worrying and I think what we should do is be prepared and make sure we keep our stomachs stuffed and happy. So let’s cook comforting food and wait for the storm to pass! And I’ve got a great recipe for you! It’s a fragrant, very satisfying, filling, creamy, sweet and savoury, super healthy version of a cottage pie. It’s a Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie.

I had to couple it with my recently-newfound-obsession: roasted garlic. I’ve always loved roasted garlic but I think I had never realised how easy is it is make. (Check the notes to find out how).

The truth is, I’ve been obsessed with a lot of other foods lately (or always?). But recently, it's been mainly baked aubergine, caramelised onions and roasted garlic. So re the cottage, pie I chose roasted garlic because it gives a sweet and deliciously smokey/garlicky taste to the sweet potato mash. I love it!

Hope you enjoy the recipe! Stay warm and safe everyone! I am on my way to make a roasted garlic, béchamel, caramelised onions and aubergine lasagna. Because the Shepherd's pies are already gone!

Moroccan Shepherd's Pie with Roasted Garlic Sweet Potato MasH

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4 to 6

Filling

  • 1 onion (200 gr) finely chopped
  • 250 gr minced lamb or beef 
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 100 gr canned chickpeas, drained or 50 gr dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 100 gr celery, chopped 
  • 70 gr dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 medium sized tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Mash

  • 1.2 kg sweet potatoes, boiled and drained
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic (or 1 ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic – see notes for directions on how to roast the garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • Finely sliced spring onions

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 180 C (350F).

• In a large casserole or a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions over medium heat. Cover with a lid and leave the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 10 min. This will allow sweating the onions.

• Once you’ve sweated the onions, stir in the ground meat and the garlic. Break down the meat while it's cooking.

• Once the meat is cooked, stir in the rest of the filling ingredients along with 4 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and let gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all the ingredients are nicely cooked and soft. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. 

• Meanwhile, prepare the mash. In a large bowl, transfer all the mash ingredients and use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes until you obtain a smooth mash. Taste to adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. 

• Transfer the filling into a large ovenproof dish (or 6 small dishes) and top with the mash. Place in the warm oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the mash is golden and the filling is piping hot.

Notes

• Directions to roast garlic: trim the head of a garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and place in a warm oven at 200 C (400 F) for 35 to 40 minutes. Press the bottom of a garlic head clove to extract the garlic. A medium sized garlic head makes about a tablespoon of roasted garlic.