Recipe: Thomasina Miers’s sweet potato shepherd’s pie

Thomasina Miers has shared this delicious recipe to help disaster relief charity Shelterbox.

UK disaster relief charity ShelterBox is urging people throughout November to get together with friends and enjoy home-made candlelit feasts. They’re calling it ‘Shine for ShelterBox’, a lovely idea which will hopefully let you count your blessings and raise some money for charity at the same time. They’ve been offered support from several big names in the world of food who have shared recipes – among them is Thomasina Miers, who has shared this recipe from her new book.

I came up with this recipe when we were putting on our first Day of the Dead festival at Wahaca. The film The Book of Life is popular in our house, and so I cooked this for my daughter’s party.

Now I make it throughout the winter with any orange root in the mash. It looks sumptuous with its golden topping and the Mexican-inspired raisin and cinnamon-studded meaty filling is sweet and warming when the weather turns colder.

Sweet potato shepherd’s pie

Serves 6 – 10 depending on appetite


  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 800g), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 40g butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 65g raisins
  • 750g minced lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 14 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

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Place the sweet potatoes in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender,
then drain. Lightly mash with 30g of the butter, using a fork or potato masher, to a
smooth purée, season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large, deep casserole dish over a high heat
and, when hot, add the raisins and cook for a few minutes until just puffing up and
changing colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan and add the meat, stirring well to break it
up and brown all over, about 5 minutes. Add another splash of oil, reduce the heat to
medium and stir in the onion, carrot, celery and spices, seasoning with a little salt and

Fry for 10 minutes to cook out the raw onion flavour before adding the raisins,
plum tomatoes, tomato purée and 500m1 water. Bring to simmering point and simmer
for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

Spoon the mince into a deep oven dish and spread the mash on top. Melt the
remaining butter and use to brush the top, then bake for about 30 minutes until the
top is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven, leave to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

To find out more about getting involved in the ‘Shine For Shelterbox’ campaign, to request a supporters pack or see details of events taking place across the UK visit