Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potatoes and Sausage (recipe)

Sweet Potatoes are a super food, and while I generally associate them with fall and winter cooking, they are good year round. They are great roasted and tossed with pomegranate syrup, mashed with lots of butter and salt as a side dish, made into soup, and sweet potato pie.

Every year, I am invited to attend a Generic Christmas Party with a group of women who were friends with my mom, who died a long time ago now. I am invited not as a replacement for my mom, because that could never happen, but because these women were such a part of my life growing up and reconnecting with them once a year is important to all of us. The event is potluck-ish in nature, with a couple folks bringing appetizers and wine, another on salad and dessert, and someone on the entrée. You also have to bring a gift for the annual gift exchange.

This year, after many years in the appetizer category, I was finally asked to bring the entrée, and boy, I took this seriously. Scoured the internet, looked at lots of food blogs, read every food magazine in the house, and went through stacks of cookbooks. Finally found the perfect, one-dish meal I was looking for, and because the recipe was so well received (granted, unlike my kids, these ladies are effusive in their praise of my cooking!), I thought I would share it here today. Also, the dish features Sweet Potatoes and Lamb, my new favorite flavor combination.

Since sweet potatoes are such a great food, ONE, a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization, co-founded by Bono, that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, has taken up the sweet potato and created a call to action. ONE wants to raise public awareness and pressure political leaders to support smart policies to effect positive change, and this post is part of a world-wide blogger fest to get the word out. Nutrition is the hidden killer of nearly 2 million children around the world and the sweet potato is serving as the mascot for ONE! Packed with nutrition and blessed with the ability to grow in many places, the sweet potato is literally saving lives. Join in the cause today and sign the petition to reduce chronic malnutrition for 25 millions kids by the year 2016.

Sweet Potato, Lamb and Sausage Stew

A make-ahead recipe from the Victory Garden Cookbook


  • 4-5 cups peeled and seeded ripe tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 medium onions (or 5-6 leeks, washed and sliced)
  • 6 Italian sausages
  • 4 lb whole small lamb shanks
  • 3 TBS oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground finger
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup beef stock or water
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices/pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)(means I forgot it!)
  1. Chop tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks, or use drained and seeded canned tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. Finely chop carrot and celery; combine.
  3. Chop onions and set aside.
  4. Prick sausage, cover with water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes to release fat, then drain and pat dry.
  5. Heat oil in large overproof casserole, brown lamb on all sides and remove. In same pan, lightly brown sausages on all sides. Remove sausages and drain fat from casserole, leaving just a small film of oil. Add carrot and celery, cook 3-4 minutes, then add onions and cook 3 minutes until wilted. Return lamb and sausage to casserole, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover casserole and stir in tomatoes, stock, pepper, turmeric, ginger, and cumin. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours, adding additional liquid if needed.
  7. When the shanks are very tender and the meat is falling off the bone, remove shanks and sausage to bowl. When cool enough to handle, remove lamb meat from bones and cut sausages into 2-3 pieces each.
  8. Add sweet potatoes to the casserole and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. When sweet potatoes are finished, add back in the lamb and sausage and cook until heated through.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © 2012 Good Fud Media.
Recipe by Gudrun Enger.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Other bloggers participating in the ONE Sweet Potato campaign:

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos from This Week for Dinner
Truffle Sweet Potato Frites from Savory Sweet Life
Sweet Potato & Chicken Sausage Stew from Chefdruck
Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits from Food for My Family
Sweet Potato Burgers from Cutie Booty Cakes
What’s Gaby Cooking and Sweet Potato Day
Cranberry Sweet Potato Crumb Cake from Barbara Bakes
Bourbon and Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes from Boston Mamas
Documama and Sweet Potato Day
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding from Eat the Love
Sweet Potato Love To Help End World Hunger from Love That Max
Celebrating Sweet Potato Day with Mom Trends
Sweet Potato Chili from Righteous Bacon
Cooking Sweet Potatoes for Picky Eaters from Rookie Moms
Sweet Potatoes and Global Health from Third Eye Mom
Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Kielbasa ONE Skillet Bake from Tickled Red
Sweet, Dude, Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash from Helen Jane
Oh My Sweet Potato Apple Bake from Bowl Licker
Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin from Non-Reactive Pan
Sweet Potato Fries from When You Wake Up a Mother (also found on Million Moms Challenge)

Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Crust (recipe)


This recipe is so outstanding it deserves a separate post to ensure the recipe sticks around. The combination of ground lamb and sweet potato is spectacular, and this is the kind of dish that is perfect on a cold Sunday, or rainy weekday. I actually made the stew the night before and roasted the sweet potatoes, and then the next night, assembled the dish, baked and broiled. The recipe below is based upon the recipe of the same name on the Australian Lamb website. I updated the instructions and added my own modifications to the ingredients.

Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Crust

Comforting lamb stew; one-pot wonder


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup cubed pancetta (can also use bacon)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 15oz can Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 TBS Italian Herb spice (Penzey’s)
  • 2 turnips, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 2 1/2 cups sweet potato, steamed or boiled and mashed (about 3-4 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 4 TBS butter, softened
  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat, and brown lamb, breaking up with spoon. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a dish and set aside. Drain remaining fat and wipe dutch oven with paper towel.
  2. Back over medium heat, add in the pancetta, onions, celery and carrots, and cook slowly until vegetables are soft and onions translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, Italian Herbs, turnips, mushrooms (if using), and stock, as well as browned lamb. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. At this point, the dish can be cooled to room temperature, and refrigerated overnight.
  4. While the stew is working, scrub sweet potatoes, prick with a fork all over, and roast at 375F on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the potato. Remove from oven, allow to cool until you can comfortably handle, then peel and put into mixing bowl. Add butter and whip with handmixer until well pureed and light.
  5. Preheat oven (or increase oven heat) to 425F. Drop heaping spoonfuls of sweet potato mash over the top of the stew, and use the back of the spoon to spread the mashed sweet potatoes to cover the stew completely. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly, then turn the broiler on and crisp up the sweet potato crust. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © 2012 Good Fud Media.
Recipe by Gudrun Enger.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Vegetarian Chili with Bulgur (recipe)

One of my very favorite, and first cookbooks, is the Frog Commissary Cookbook from a now-defunct restaurant in Philadelphia. The spine is a mess, with many pages holding on for dear life. I wrote my whole name in the book, back before I was married, probably because I brought it along to college and did not want there to be any mistake about ownership. The earliest date I found was when I made the Commissary Carrot Cake on 6/27/1987. Wowser!

A few years back, I traveled to Philadelphia for an event, and was pleased to discover that Frog Commissary Catering was in charge of the food. I happily brought my book along, gushed to the servers about my long standing affection for the book, and asked to have it signed by Steven Poses, one of the original authors. My book was returned (with rubberband to hold it all together) with Steven’s signature in the front. Now I have a collectible.

Several times I have written about making the Frog Commissary Vegetarian Chili (if you don’t believe me, read it here, here and here), but I never took the time to post the recipe for my loyal readers. That is about to change, right here, right now. For your gustatory pleasure, I bring you:

Vegetarian Chili with Bulgur

Easy chili recipe, tastes better the second day. Original recipe found in the Frog Commissary Cookbook.


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I use Aleppo Pepper)
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups tomato juice (I use a low-salt variety)
  • 3/4 cup medium grain bulgur wheat
  • 2 14.5-oz cans chopped tomatoes (low-salt)
  • 2 cans undrained kidney beans
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine (optional)
  • 1 4-oz can chopped green chilis
Chop and prepare all your ingredients.Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven or skillet. Saute onions, celery, green peppers, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper over high heat, 1-2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, stirring (if you don’t, the bulgur may stick to the bottom of the pan). Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, uncovered.

Add additional tomato juice if too thick.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese. A corn muffin or two would not hurt, either.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © 2011 Good Fud Media.
Recipe by Gudrun Enger.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Best Ever Chilaquiles (recipe)

Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican hangover cure, is a truly flexible dish easy to throw together for an impromptu brunch or dinner after a busy day. This recipe originally was clipped out of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003, and every time I find a fresh bunch of chard in my Two Small Farms vegetable box, I have the urge to pull this dish together.

Chilaquiles Casserole
Chilaquiles Casserole

Chilaquiles Casserole

  • 10 corn tortillas (you can also use 4 burrito-sized flour tortillas. I like corn better)
  • 1 bunch chard or other greens
  • 1 1/3 cups black beans, or refried beans (mix with 1/2 cup boiling water if too thick)
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups tomato salsa
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar, Cotija)

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring large pot of water to boil.

Toast the tortillas directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet, until toasted, about 5 minutes, turning half-way through. Remove from oven, tear into large pieces.

Pull the chard leaves from the stem, discard stem. Boil until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Lightly beat eggs with milk in a bowl; set aside.

To assemble: In a 9×13 dish, spread 1/2 cup of the salsa. Add a layer of half of the tortilla pieces.

Add half the egg mixture, and spread half of the greens on top. Spoon half of the beans, 3/4 cup of the salsa and 3/4 cup of the cheese.

Repeat those layers, starting with tortillas and ending with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 30-35 minutes until set. Uncover, increase oven to 425F, and bake until brown and bubbly, about 10-12 minutes longer.

Serve hot. Also makes great leftovers.

Easy Roast Chicken with Carrots and Cauliflower (recipe)

I clipped this recipe out of Martha Stewarts Everyday Food back in 2006, and as the cool weather approaches, it is definitely a go-to recipe in our house. The original recipe has stayed pretty much the same, but I have been known to add other root vegetables (beets, turnips, rutabagas) and mix it up with an unusual color of cauliflower. And I usually put in more vegetables than the recipe calls for, they shrink quite a bit in the oven.

Takes about 10 minutes to put together, and another 45 minutes to roast. I recommend using a large roasting pan, such as the Calphalon Classic Roaster or the Sur La Table Stainless Roasting Pan. Basically a pan with higher sides. I have made this dish before in a regular roasting pan, and the larger one just works better.


Roast Chicken with Carrots and Cauliflower

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium size florets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 whole chicken legs, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 475F.

In roasting pan, combine carrots, cauliflower, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetables around the side of the pan.

Place chicken legs along the center and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon coriander and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, stirring vegetables once, until chicken is well browned and crispy (180F internal temperature). Remove chicken to platter.

Add lemon juice to pan and stir and scrape up drippings, mixing with vegetables. Serve.

Related Cauliflower Recipes:

Easy enchiladas – a family favorite

Long ago, when my daughter was born, a family from our play group brought over dinner. I remember the discussion with Becky – she wanted to know if we liked New Mexican chili sauce. She was planning to make chicken enchiladas for us, and little did she know it was a favorite of my husband. Our conversation evolved into a discussion of red vs. green chili sauce. In Santa Fe, you can actually order things “Christmas style” which means some of both!

Since my husband is such a green chili fan, whenever we can get our hands on fresh Hatch or Anaheim chilis, he will make a batch of chili sauce, which I then get to use on enchiladas. The recipe has evolved from when Becky first brought it over, and is very forgiving, so feel free to make it your own. Here is my basic recipe, modification possibilities listed at the end:

Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Enchiladas

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups if you cook your own)
  • 10 ounces frozen corn (or 1 1/2 cups fresh, if you have it)
  • 12 gordita-size tortillas (they are bigger than taco, but smaller than burrito)
  • 1 14-ounce can re-fried beans (or 1 cup fresh)
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese (your favorite, or a Mexican blend)
  • 1 28-ounce can or 2 cups green chili sauce (or less or more, depending on how spicy the sauce is)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9×13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add in bell pepper, sauté 2 minutes more. Add in black beans and corn and cook together until heated. Remove from heat.

Set up your assembly line:

  • tortillas
  • re-fried beans
  • black bean and corn mixture
  • shredded cheese

Onto a tortilla, spread 2 tablespoons re-fried beans. Top with two spoonfulls of black beans and corn, and a small handful of grated cheese. Roll and place in prepared pan. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, until the pan is full. Don’t be afraid to stuff them in as you go.

Pour chili sauce over the top and sprinkle another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cheese over the top. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes, until bubbly. Serve.

Modifications: I have made these with chicken, either a whole boiled chicken which I pulled into pieces, or a fresh roasted chicken from Safeway or CostCo, pulled into pieces. This is a great dish for leftover vegetables, I have used leftover corn, roasted or not, chopped zucchini or summer squash, and/or winter squash. Feel free to use whatever floats your boat, or whatever your kids will eat!

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