February 21, 2012

Moroccan-Style Shepherd's Pie (Vegeterian Option)

I fell in love with sweet potatoes about 10 years ago, before they were really big in mainstream cuisine (at least where I lived). I tried to shove them into so many recipes. This recipe is inspired by both my love for sweet potatoes and a recipe in Cuisine at Home Magazine for a Moroccan-style chicken dish that is full of warm spices, briny olives and a hint of lemon. I grew up eating hearty shepherds pie, usually made with elk or venison (beef was expensive and hard to come by in rural Montana). I wanted to make a shepherds pie with sweet potatoes and I thought the Moroccan flavors would lend themselves to the potatoes sweetness. I served it with a big dollop of plain yogurt and fresh lemon wedges. Big hit in my house! Even my 4 and 5 year olds gobbled up seconds of this one.

Yield: About 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are

  • 3 - 4 medium sweet potatoes (actually, I used garnet yams), peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps (or equivalent), diced in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, finely diced (or use 1/2 lb ground beef or lamb)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 3 (or 10) cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 can (1 1/2 cups) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 cups mushroom broth (or beef broth if using meat)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp paprika (smoked or sweet, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp each fresh cilantro and parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • plain yogurt to serve
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover sweet potatoes in cool water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Drain and add 1 tsp salt. Mash to desired consistency. Note: You can add more sweet potatoes or leave some out, depending on how thick you like the topping.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat till it shimmers. Saute mushrooms onion, carrot, celery and garlic till soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more. Add lemon juice, broth, paprika, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer till liquid is reduced to about half. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp each cilantro and parsley. Transfer mixture to 8x8 square casserole dish. Spread mashed sweet potatoes on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the edges are bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and parsley. Enjoy!

More to come with Love!


  1. Replies
    1. Garbanzos? (sorry it got sent before question)

    2. Oh my! I guess my directions were not very complete. Sorry for the inconvenience. You will add the garbanzos and the kalamata olives with the spices, lemon juice and broth. I will edit the directions asap. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and I really hope you enjoy the recipe!

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