Shepherd’s pie is a type of early English meat pie that used lamb and vegetables. If the pie included beef it was called a cottage pie. Both were topped with mashed potatoes. Making shepherd’s pie was a convenient and healthy way of using leftover meat and vegetables. If you grow sweet potatoes in the garden, this updated version, made with your fresh harvest, is a great way to kick off autumn.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the sweet potatoes and squash and boil them until they are tender, about 30 minutes. Pour the vegetables into a strainer and drain completely.
Return the vegetables to the saucepan, and mash them until they are smooth. Turn the heat to medium, and stir the mixture five minutes. Stir in the butter and the syrup, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a round, 3 qt. casserole dish.
Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until it is brown and cooked completely, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a large bowl. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of the sausage drippings in the skillet.
Place the onions and garlic in the skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onions turn golden, about seven minutes. Add the onion mixture to sausage. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and allow the mixture to cool.
Mix in the frozen vegetables, cream, egg, curry powder and coriander. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and top it with the potato mixture, smoothing the top. Bake the casserole until it is heated through and the potatoes begin to brown, about 45 minutes. Let the shepherd’s pie stand five minutes before serving.