Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Top cook, winner of Masterchef 2005 and founder of the Wahaca restaurant chain, Thomasina Miers shares her winter winner – shepherd’s pie with a twist.

‘I came up with this recipe when we were putting on our first Day of the Dead festival at Wahaca. The film The Book of Life is popular in our house, and so I cooked this for my daughter’s party. Now I make it throughout the winter with any orange root in the mash. It looks sumptuous with its golden topping and the Mexican-inspired raisin and cinnamon-studded meaty filling is sweet and warming when the weather turns colder.’


Serves: 6 – 10 depending on age and appetite

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 800g), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 40g butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 65g raisins
  • 750g minced lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 14 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée


Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

Place the sweet potatoes in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender, then drain. Lightly mash with 30g of the butter, using a fork or potato masher, to a smooth purée, season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large, deep casserole dish over a high heat and, when hot, add the raisins and cook for a few minutes until just puffing up and changing colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan and add the meat, stirring well to break it up and brown all over, about 5 minutes. Add another splash of oil, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the onion, carrot, celery and spices, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Fry for 10 minutes to cook out the raw onion flavour before adding the raisins, plum tomatoes, tomato purée and 500m1 water. Bring to simmering point and simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

Spoon the mince into a deep oven dish and spread the mash on top. Melt the remaining butter and use to brush the top, then bake for about 30 minutes until the top is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven, leave to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Recipe taken from ‘Home Cook’ published by Faber & Faber.
Image by Tara Fisher.


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