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Piping on the mashed potato-squash topping.

Piping on the mashed potato-squash topping.

Shepherd’s pie, also known as cottage pie, just screams “Autumn!”  This version with its sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and maple flavor puts it over the top.  The entire dish can be made a day ahead, just leave off the sprinkling of paprika until immediately before putting it in the oven, cover and refrigerate and add about 15 minutes to the baking time.

This recipe can easily be switched out to use leftover turkey after Thanksgiving.  Just omit the sweet Italian sausage. Then once the maple breakfast sausage is browned, stir in 1 pound of shredded or chopped turkey meat and proceed with the recipe. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or squash – mash them all together to make 3 to 4 cups and use that for the topping, in place of or in addition to, the roasted and mashed potatoes and squash in the recipe. And if you have leftover vegetables such as corn, green beans, cauliflower, etc. substitute for or add them to the corn, broccoli, and red peppers… you get the idea – be creative!

Autumn Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
8-ounces maple sausage breakfast links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cups peeled and chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup fat-free half and half
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
5 dashes hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
shepherd Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam. Butter an 8 x 12 x 2-inch casserole or baking dish.

Place sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and gold potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet, toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Maintain oven temperature.

Place sweet and gold potatoes and squash in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher, or hand mixer, or process through a food mill. Add butter, cream cheese, and syrup and stir until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook both sausages in a large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and cooked through, breaking up with a spatula, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a large bowl; reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings from the skillet. Place 1 tablespoon of drippings back into skillet; add onions, garlic, and rosemary and sauté over medium-high heat until onions are tender and golden about 7 minutes. Add onion mixture to sausage.

Add remaining tablespoon drippings to the same skillet add broccoli and bell peppers, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Add to bowl with sausage, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow to cool to room temperature. Then stir in corn, half and half, egg, parsley, and pepper sauce.

Transfer sausage mixture to buttered baking dish.  Place potato mixture in a pastry bag and pipe over sausage mixture. Alternately, potato mixture may be spooned over sausage; then smooth the top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in 350-degree oven until heated through and potatoes begin to lightly crisp and brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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1 Ronnie Jaap { 11.17.09 at 10:14 AM }

This dish is definitely making it into my plans for leftovers! Although we are having Thanksgiving at my friend’s house this year, I am still cooking a turkey just for the leftovers.

2 Bonnie { 11.21.09 at 10:32 PM }

This recipe is WONDERFUL!! It takes a little time to create but it is well worth the time. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Bonnie

3 Linda Hopkins { 11.22.09 at 1:11 PM }

So happy you checked out the site Bonnie, and that you tried the recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

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