Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

This recipe is from January's Vegetarian Times and it shows up the home page whenever I got to their website. It looked like an interesting twist on shepherd's pie. The weather is warming up, so I figured I didn't have too much time left to try it before root veggies go out of season.

The filling is onions, leeks, carrots, turnips and cannellini beans, and the topping is mashed sweet potatoes. I followed the recipe with just two exceptions: I didn't peel the sweet potato before cooking it and I didn't use cinnamon or nutmeg. I thought was pretty tasty, and Dennis was pleased with the meal as well.

The sweet potato is a tuberous root that is only distantly related to the potato. The softer, orange variety is commonly marketed as a "yam" in parts of North America, but the sweet potato is very distinct from the actual yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belong to the monocot family. To prevent confusion, the USDA requires that sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" also be labeled as "sweet potatoes". Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron and calcium. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics as studies have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance. In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables, and it ranked highest in nutritional value.

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