Recipe of the Month

There’s no better way to kick off the purplepatch monthly recipe column by offering up a modern twist on a British classic, Shepherd’s Pie. The dish dates back to the 18th century and historically, was prepared as a means of using up leftover roast meat. The potato topping was also considered a cheap addition to the dish since the potato was one of the most affordable crops amongst the poor in 18th century England.

This updated version brings some new flavor and healthier ingredients to the dish. Lean buffalo meat replaces the traditional beef/lamb and a topping of sweet potatoes adds natural sweetness to the pie.


1lb minced buffalo meat

1 tbsp olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup of frozen peas

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pre-baked (oven or microwave) and roughly chopped, remove skins, if preferred

2-4 tbsp of milk, (dairy, almond or soy)

1tbsp of your favorite meat seasoning, e.g. Rama Rub

¼ cup of roasted, salted cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 350F. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery and carrot slices and sauté for ~5-7mins. The onions should begin to look translucent and the celery and carrots should soften slightly. Next add the buffalo meat and your favorite meat seasoning and cook until the meat has just turned brown. Add the frozen peas and cook until they are bright green in color. Just 1-2mins.

In a food processor or blender, add the chopped sweet potato and milk of your choice and mix until it reaches a *mash* consistency. You may want to add the milk in stages to ensure the mixture does not liquefy… you don’t want a puree!

To assemble the pie, add the meat mixture to the bottom of a loaf pan. Then spread the mash mixture over the meat and bake in the oven for ~15-20mins. Since everything is pre-cooked, the baking is to warm the sweet potatoes and add a slight crispness to the mash. For a final flourish when it comes out of the oven, I top the pie with the chopped cashew nuts. Serve the pie immediately with a side of greens of your choice… we like sautéed Brussels sprouts, steamed spinach and steamed broccoli.


Jordan Blanco