When I moved to Minnesota, I learned there was such a thing as Tater Tot Hot Dish. Maybe you guys have heard of it. (And if you're from around here, you're definitely familiar with it, and you're probably wondering how I grew up without it.) It's kind of like a shepherd's pie, but the beef and veggie mixture is topped with tater tots instead of mashed potatoes. Well, Grant loves tater tot hot dish, so I wanted to find a way to make a similar meal, but leave out the processed stuff that usually goes in and make it gluten and dairy free. I figured crisp roasted sweet potatoes would make a yummy substitute for the tater tots. That's how this meal started, and I'm super excited with how it turned out! Hearty, flavorful, simple comfort food.
The sweet potatoes are oven roasted (we like ours extra roasty) and the beef mixture is cooked on the stove top, and then you simply layer them together in a serving dish instead of baking everything again like you would a typical casserole. Easy! P.S. The smoked paprika is a crucial ingredient here. It gives this dish a really awesome, almost barbecue kind of flavor. Yum.
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons coconut oil (divided)
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1/2 a large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 T. organic ketchup
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 T. brown rice flour
2 cups chicken broth
Heat oven to 450º. Toss chopped sweet potatoes with a few tablespoons of coconut or olive oil and 2 two teaspoons of minced garlic (optional), spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until edges look browned and crisp.
While potatoes are roasting, make the beef and veggie mixture. Brown beef in a skillet over med-high heat and transfer to a bowl. Leave any fat in the skillet, lower the heat a bit, and add in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until veggies are softened and fragrant. Add in ketchup, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and the cooked beef. Sprinkle the rice flour over the mixture and stir it around until flour is browned a bit and there's no longer a flour-y smell, about 2 minutes. Pour in the broth slowly, while stirring and scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let this simmer until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon beef mixture into a deep serving dish and top with roasted sweet potatoes.
*Note: when preparing the carrots and celery, be sure to chop them very thin; thin enough for them to get soft during the sautéing. Also, feel free to toss in other chopped veggies... mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, zucchini, etc.