Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
For individual pies, divide the ingredients among several small ramekins and bake until the potatoes are golden brown.
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, washed
1 cup whole small green lentils, rinsed
2¼ cups vegetable broth
¼ cup Guinness Extra Stout or Schlafly Irish-style Extra Stout (The latter will be available next month.)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ tsp. salt, divided
Freshly cracked white pepper
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick each sweet potato several times with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
• Meanwhile, add the lentils, broth and beer to a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (adding more broth, if necessary) and lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.
• In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots and onion. Saute until the carrots and celery are soft and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Saute 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes and their liquid, ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch of white pepper and the cooked lentils. Simmer 5 minutes.
• Remove and discard the skins from the roasted sweet potatoes. In a bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with a fork. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch of white pepper, the butter and cheese, stirring until blended.
• Prepare a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the lentil mixture to the dish, spreading evenly. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly over the lentil mixture. Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.