Shepherd’s Pie

Last week was really busy at our house, so I didn’t have a lot of time to make dinner. I made this Shepherd’s Pie a day in advance so that we had a quick dinner to heat up one evening.  It’s based on the Shepherd’s Pie recipe from The Sugar Solution Cookbook. Instead of regular potatoes, the recipe calls for yams, which give it a unique flavor. This recipe is also a bit lighter than most shepherd’s pie recipes because there is no gravy.  The meat is cooked in broth, red wine, and tomato paste to give it a rich flavor without adding any additional fat.


  • 2 pounds yams, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (or 1/2 cup skim plus a tablespoon of butter)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 90/10)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots, no need to thaw
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Brown the ground beef in a large saute pan.  Drain the excess fat, and transfer beef to a small bowl.  Add the onion to the pan, cooking over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent and tender.  Add the frozen peas and carrots and the dried thyme.  Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are warmed through. Return the beef to the pan.  Add the beef stock, wine, and tomato paste.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the stock to reduce. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and let rest.

Place the yams in a medium pot, adding enough water to cover the yams.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Drain, and return to the pot.

Add the milk and season with salt and pepper.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth and creamy.  Add additional milk, as necessary.

Transfer the beef mixture to the bottom of the casserole dish.  Top with the mashed yams.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (if you are refrigerating this over night, bake the cold casserole for 45 minutes).

5 Responses to Shepherd’s Pie

  1. First, the finished Shepherd’s Pie with the yams on top is beautiful! Well done! Second, I have never had it with anything other than white potatoes. I will have to give this a try! I bet it is delish.

  2. This may seem like a silly question, but how do you get the yams to look the way they do in the picture?