I love Moroccan cuisine. Tagines filled with plump apricots, cous cous laced with juicy raisins and harira soup filled with hearty lamb, chickpeas and tomatoes. I visited Marrakesh just a few years ago and have been inspired to use its flavoursome spices in some of my own dishes since. These experiments gave birth to my Moroccan shepherd’s pie recipe.
Shepherd’s pie has never really been a favourite of mine, but this Moroccan shepherd’s pie is a whole new ball game. Smokey, aromatic and sweet, this recipe uses the traditional Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout to flavour the meat, and is topped with delicious mashed sweet potatoes. It’s a tasty fusion dish that is wholesome, nourishing and warming.
I first cooked this about a year ago. Puppy Daddy groaned with disappointment when I’d told him I was making shepherd’s pie for dinner, but little did he know I had my own twist. He adored it and so did I. Since then, the recipe itself has developed and it’s now in a place I’d be proud to share with even those who have the most discerning tastes. At first I’d topped it with just plain sweet mashed potato, but with a little garlic salt, pepper, butter and milk, it’s transformed. I also love a healthy sprinkle of salty feta atop this dish. The deep savoury cheese contrasts perfectly with the buttery sweet potato. To the meat, I add a tin or mixed beans. Not only does this bulk it out slightly if you’re serving it to crowd, it adds another lovely texture to the dish.
Try this easy Moroccan shepherd’s pie mid-week for a delicious mid-week dinner. Plus, it’s great to prepare ahead, just omit whacking it into the oven and either keep in the fridge for one night or freeze. It makes a great ready-made meal when you’re craving something hearty and healthy.
So, onto the recipe, this serves around 6 people (or 4 healthy appetites…)
1 large pack of lamb mince
1 large onion
1 yellow or red pepper
1 tin of mixed beans soaked in water
1 carton of passata
1 tbs tomato puree
1 beef stock pot dissolved in ½ pint of hot water
1 tbs ras el hanout spice mix
1 heaped tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 large garlic bulb
Generous sprinkling salt & pepper (to taste)
For the sweet potato mash:
3 large sweet potatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 generous knob of butter
A sprinkle of salt & pepper
Optional; Feta & coriander
I like to bake my sweet potatoes and remove the soft flesh from their skins to create my mash. Turn your oven up high, score your potatoes round as if you’re making a jacket and pop them in.
Slice your onion and fry off in a large saucepan with your lamb mince. I don’t add any extra oil here as the mince tends to have more than enough fat to fry off nicely itself. Chop the garlic into little pieces and add to the meat once it’s nearly all browned. Also add your peppers and spices here.
Now add the tomato puree, mixing it thoroughly through the mince.
To add another layer of texture and bulk out your dish even more, add a can of fibre-filled beans. They’ll make this dish extra filling and provide B vitamins – great for digestion and normal functioning of the skin.
Pour in your passata and your ½ pint of beef stock.
Here’s where the magic happens. Allow the mix to simmer off until its reduced into a delicious, bubbling stew. This normally takes around 30 minutes – plenty of time to make sure your sweet potatoes are ready.
Check your potatoes by pushing a sharp knife through the middle. If they give easily, they’re done. Remove them from the oven and release them from their earthy skins. They should come away easily.
Mash the flesh with a fork adding a generous knob of butter, a splash of milk, 1 tsp garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Now to assemble. Spoon your meaty, tomato mix into an oven proof dish, then spoon the sweet potato on top and even off with a fork.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top has browned.
I like to top mine with feta and coriander. The rich, salty goats cheese works so well with the spicy aromatic meat and velvety sweet potato. It’s delicious. I literally made so much Moroccan shepherd’s pie I have enough to last a month. I didn’t bake half of it, so it’s saved for another evening’s dinner. Perfect for a quick dinner. If there’s one dish you make this week, it has to be this Moroccan shepherd’s pie!
Until next time,
Leni & Me