Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie: Marissa Hermer Brings Warming Recipes Across the Pond

Marissa and Matt Hermer are the team behind The Draycott in Pacific Palisades and Olivetta in West Hollywood—both offering weekend curbside pick-up during the COVID-19 pandemic for meals ordered in advance.

Below, Marissa shares her warm and comforting Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie recipe as well as a recipe for Welsh Rarebit here. After moving from London—where Matt and Marissa own and operate award-winning bars and restaurants— to Pacific Palisades, they wanted to create a place that married all the things they love about Southern California and all the things they miss about London, and so The Draycott was born, featuring traditional British recipes with an LA twist, just like the one below.

Marissa Hermer’s Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

This is my tried and-true version of the classic family recipe. Though traditionally made with lamb mince, you can substitute beef if you prefer (this is called Cottage Pie). Sweet potato adds a nice vibrant colour and is packed full of natural sweetness and nutrients, perfect for the munchkins.

Serves 8


2 pounds large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

3 tablespoons butter, divided

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 ½ pounds lean lamb mince

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped

Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 tablespoon flour

1 ¼ cups chicken stock


1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and place back into the pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Using an electric whisk, blend the potato and butter until smooth and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining butter and the oil along with the onion. Cook for 15 minutes, or until softened and browned. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Stir through the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Increase the heat and add the lamb mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the vegetables back to the pan along with the cinnamon, thyme, and rosemary. Stir to combine, then add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened. Check for seasoning.

4. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch x 7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with the sweet potato mash and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is hot and


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