Not Your Ordinary Pie – This One Is Fit For A King

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Purple is my favorite color. It’s the perfect combination of blue and red, yet it’s so much more exciting than just the primary colors. A few years ago I saw a huge head of purple cauliflower in the grocery store and was thrilled to get it home and whip up it for dinner. Imagine the disappointment when I discovered that it faded into a boring grayish color when cooked. Save your money and only buy the purple cauliflower if you’re planning to eat it raw.

When I found out last week that we were getting purple potatoes in our CSA share, I was immediately suspicious that they would go the way of the cauliflower. Fortunately we got a bunch of the royal taters so I could experiment with various recipes. Yes, I’m easily entertained by purple things. Since cooked potatoes are much easier to deal with than raw, I washed and sliced all of them into french fry shapes and baked them all at once. Huge time saver too. I was thrilled that they retained their purple-ness when cooked! They were gorgeous actually.

The first night we just splashed them with vinegar and dipped them in ketchup like faux fries. I also had some a couple nights later mixed with sweet potatoes and sprinkled with cinnamon. The orange and purple tater combination is perfect for the holidays or special occasion. In case you are wondering, if you close your eyes there is no distinguishable taste between purple potatoes and regular white ones. It’s just the color that makes them special.

I decided to get even more creative with the last of the potatoes and use the remaining leftovers to make shepherd’s pie. I love pie and I love meat, so I’d never resist a combo of the two. Shepherd’s pie is the ultimate comfort food for winter evenings. It’s also perfect for the busy family since once it goes in the oven it doesn’t have to be babysat, and it also makes enough for freezable leftovers. This version is also full of unique flavors yet good for you too!

The calorie information is based on the ingredients I listed in the recipe. You can easily use regular milk, other non-dairy milk, or half and half instead of the almond milk. Work with what you have on hand. It will change your calorie count so make sure you account for that. I’m also a purist and make my shepherd’s pie with only peas and carrots. For some reason I had trouble finding a bag of just peas and carrots. Everyone had mixed veggies out the ying yang, but I do NOT put corn in my shepherd’s pie any more than I’d ruin a brownie with nuts. No. 😉

Of course you can use white potatoes or sweet potatoes in place of the purple ones. You’ll have to change the name since your version won’t be the black sheep version. Since I had leftover baked potatoes in the fridge, I skipped the cutting and boiling step in the recipe below. All I did was reheat them in the microwave and mash them with the milk, ginger, and salt. If you’ve got leftover baked or mashed potatoes, you can save yourself a little time. If not, it doesn’t add much since you can boil the potatoes while you start browning the meat and onion.

black-sheep-shepherds-pieBlack Sheep Shepherd’s Pie

Tater Topping

  • 10 oz purple potatoes (or sweet potatoes or white potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  •  1/4 tsp salt (optional)


  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (appx 1 cup)
  • 1 lb 93/7 ground beef
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 16 oz frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • Sprinkle of paprika (optional)

Wash your potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks. Add them to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer the potatoes for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain off the water and add the almond milk, ginger and salt. Mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray. In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth, flour, tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce until blended. Saute the ground beef, onion, allspice, and cumin in a pan over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. As the beef is cooking, break up the large chunks into more bite sized pieces.

After the beef is cooked, add the broth mixture and peas and carrots and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let the liquid thicken slightly. This will only take 1 – 2 minutes. Pour the filling into the prepared baking dish and spread the potatoes over the top like a crust. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings at approximately 220 calories each. That sentence should probably end with an exclamation point.

The servings were really large and I didn’t bother with any side dishes. You could serve this with a salad if you want to stretch it further. I love the different flavor of the pie with the allspice and cumin mixed it. It wasn’t your typical shepherd’s pie. It’s the… black sheep of shepherd’s pie. Definitely fitting for the Quest Household. 🙂

Do you have a favorite color? Have you ever tried purple potatoes?

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