Chef Debi: Shop local harvest for Shepherds Pie

I always try to shop local farmers markets to get the freshest ingredients I can to cook for my weekly clients. This week, I was at Stade’s Farm and bought the sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, honey and green beans that went into this wonderful, healthy dish.

My client had this dish yesterday and said it was the best – it reminded her of Thanksgiving all in one dish. 

Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherds Pie

Servings: 6

For the filling:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1½ pounds turkey, cooked and diced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ cup green beans, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons all-purpose or whole-wheat flour

Cayenne pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup organic vegetable broth

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

For the sweet potato purée:

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large, equal-sized chunks

2 tablespoons honey

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onions, celery, carrots and green beans for 5 minutes. Add in the finely chopped garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the turkey and season again with salt and pepper. Let the turkey heat through to release its juices.

When the meat starts to brown on the bottom, mix in the flour, cayenne pepper, vegetable broth and tomato paste. Cover and let simmer on medium low for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes. Continue stirring to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom. Stir in the frozen peas. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to assemble.

For the sweet potato purée: Fill a large pot with water. Add the sweet potato chunks. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. When the potatoes are fork tender, strain them from the water.

Mash the potatoes with butter, olive oil, cinnamon, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the bottom of a 9-inch-by-11-inch baking dish with the meat mixture. Top with the sweet potato purée and spread evenly, getting all the way to the edges. Place on top of a baking tray (in case it spills over) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve right away. Also can be made in individual pie pans.

Nutrition information per 4-inch square serving (1/6 of the recipe): Calories: 400; Fat: 18.2g; Saturated Fat: 3.6g; Carbohydrates: 34.4g; Protein: 27.9g; Iron: 3.2g; Fiber: 6g; Calcium: 94g; Sodium: 526g.

• Chef Debi Stuckwisch is the owner of Meals Like Mom’s Personal Chef service in McHenry County. She can be reached at 847-778-9351 or, or visit

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