I think January is my least favourite month, it’s the only month with nothing fun to look forward to. The high from the holiday season is over as we all get back into our daily grind. The days are still short, with gloomy clouds and rare sunny days. Over the years I’ve noticed a significant change in my mood in January, and I think I have mild seasonal affective disorder, or winter depression. Heading south for a week of sun is the ultimate cure, but if that’s not possible, I retreat to my kitchen and cook up a storm. One of my favourite comfort dishes to make is this Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping.
This twist on a traditional Shepherd’s pie is my go-to recipe for a cozy winter dinner party. Filled with delightfully rich, savory flavours that are guaranteed to impress. This dish can be made a few days in advance, making a weeknight dinner a breeze! Adding Worcestershire sauce and gherkins to this pie was a tip that I picked up from Gordon Ramsay. I absolutely loved the addition of the Worchestershire sauce to the pie. The sauce adds more depth to the flavour of the meat, a bit of a sweet fermented kick. Using gherkins in the pie also really tickled my taste buds, their sweet crunchiness cutting through the fatty richness of the lamb. Over the years this recipe has morphed into the ultimate Shepherd’s pie, and is packed full of some of my favourite ingredients.
I adore lamb, and am always looking for ways to use lamb instead of beef. Besides being so tasty, lamb is also a great source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. I also combined sweet potato with yellow potatoes for a healthier pie topping. Sweet potato is an excellent source of Vitamin A, potassium and dietary fibers – something we all need after all that holiday eating! I also made the pie topping with almond milk, as my boyfriend is lactose intolerant, but if you can find cashew milk that’s even better because it’s a bit creamier. Finally, I added some liquid smoke to give an element of smokiness to the meat, but this is optional.
My dad is of British descent and fully appreciates a hearty meat and potatoes meal. He loved my take on Shepherd’s pie (but I guess your parents are supposed to say that, no matter what age!). Also, I’m sure that I inherited my love of pickled foods from him. While the sauce is deliciously rich, the pickle cuts through and helps to balance out the rich mince, and the generous topping of potatoes is light, fluffy and slightly sweet. This Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping is a spin on a classic British pub dish with some healthy substitutions. If you’re feeling blue this January, call up some family or friends for an impromptu dinner party. This hearty Shepherd’s pie is a wonderful way to warm up the soul on a cold January evening.