Thursday, August 2, 2012

Superfood Cottage Pie

Several years ago, when I was in my Superfoods craze, I tried to see how many superfoods I could get in one dish. I wanted one recipe that didn’t resort to anything peculiar like blueberry, salmon, pumpkin, kale, walnut hash bound with yogurt and topped with a tomato sauce. It had to be something I would actually want to eat, although not necessarily serve to company.
Superfoods became a way of life, I became less obsessed with them and as these things go, I settled in to eating the ones I like—sweet potatoes, spinach—and neglecting the ones I don’t—soy.
When I discovered Sweet Potato Cottage Pie in Fine Cooking, I was reminded of the super food challenge. I altered the recipe to include more super foods and also to taste better.
I have now made this for several people and everyone has requested the recipe, even Abby, chef extraordinaire.
Here it is.

For the topping
3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb. total)
1/2 – ¾ cup whole milk 
2 – 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
For the filling
Some olive oil
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced  
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 TB ground cumin 
1 TB dried oregano 
1 TB chile powder 
2 tsps. ground cinnamon 
2-3 lb. ground turkey 
1 – 2 14-oz. cans tomatoes, whole or crushed. (
I like the fire roasted crushed. If you use whole tomatoes, use 2 cans, for crushed tomatoes, use about a can and a half, you don’t want it to be like tomato sauce.)
1 lb spinach or another green
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted black olives 
3/4 cup raisins, preferably golden

Bake the potatoes, scoop out the flesh and mix it with the rest of the topping ingredients to make mashed potatoes, using more or less milk and butter to suit your tastes.

Sauté the mirepoix in the olive oil until softened. Add the spices and cook for another few minutes. Add the garlic and allow it to just soften but not brown. Remove all this from the pan, add more olive oil and turn the heat up. Brown the turkey, stirring it and breaking up any big pieces. Add the vegetables back in. Add the tomatoes and cook this for a few minutes so flavors meld. Now taste it and add more salt (the olives will add some saltiness so don’t go overboard salting here) and pepper or more of the other spices if it needs it. Add the greens and cook just until wilted, then stir in the olives and raisins.
Put this in a large pie pan or a 9 x 13 pan or some sort of baking pan that will hold it. I often make all this in the All Clad Braiser and then bake it in that also. Spread the potatoes on top and bake in a 400 oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling.

Only 4 super foods—turkey, sweet potatoes, greens and tomatoes, but you could add a can of chick peas and maybe even some pumpkin seeds or walnuts and get it to six. I wonder if you could use yogurt in the topping, making seven, and I wonder if you heat the yogurt and kill the probiotics if it would still be a super food.

Of course, these are Steven Pratt’s Superfoods. If you consider Dr. Furman’s Superfoods, then you already have an extra one bc Dr. Furman includes onions on his list. And you could add mushrooms, another Dr. Furman recommendation, and you’d have one more.

The point is, this is a recipe that lends itself to tinkering and can accommodate a lot of Superfoods. Then you can take your earned virtue and spend it on dessert.

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