I think all of us find ourselves from time to time stuck in a food rut. You know what I’m talking about, when you feel like you’re always cooking the same dishes. I don’t know about you, but I get bored.
So the other day I was looking to try something new. Instead of coming up with something I’d never made before, I decided to re-think something we make fairly often: Shepherd’s Pie.
I’ve shared our regular Shepherd’s Pie recipe before, and I like it a lot. But I’ve had a thing for sweet potatoes lately, ever since the weather started to cool. I love the flavors of fall, and I wanted something comforting. So I threw some stuff together.
For the meat, I opted for a spicy andouille sausage to compliment the sweet potatoes. I removed the casing from the 4 (pre-cooked) sausages and broke them up a little, then browned them slightly in a skillet. But once I had the meat decided, I wasn’t really sure what to put in the middle.
Going with the fall-theme, I thought of apples. And then I thought of stuffing. I didn’t want to add any bread to this recipe, so I sautéed a couple of diced apples, and some onions & celery together, then threw in some fresh sage & thyme (which are both still alive in my garden) and seasoned with salt & pepper of course. That made it reminiscent of stuffing without using any sort of bread or other grain.
I diced and boiled about 2 lbs sweet potatoes, then mashed them with a dollop of sour cream. Then I layered it in individual ramekins and baked it at 350˚ for about half an hour.
While it was baking, I decided to make something to put on top, so I chopped some bacon and fried it up. When it was nearly done, I drizzled in a little bit of maple syrup, then grated just the tiniest bit of nutmeg on top & lots of black pepper. Totally unnecessary, but why would anyone say no to candied bacon?
All-in-all, this was pretty fun. I wouldn’t say it’s my #1 dish or anything, and I think there’s room for improvement particularly in the filling. And the photos, since I didn’t have any natural light when I was taking these… Stupid shorter days– my least favorite thing about fall. But it’s a place to start, and if you never try anything out-of-the-box (and I don’t mean out of a prepackaged meal kind of box) you won’t discover what you can do. You don’t need to be bound by recipes. Just try something and see if it tastes good. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. I’d suggest not trying something new when you have guests coming, though. :)
What kinds of things have you tried in the kitchen? Did they work? Or maybe you have a great idea to make this dish killer. Share in the comments and maybe we can make something awesome together.