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This family-size chilli sweet potato pie is similar in design to a Potato or Shepherd’s pie but uses homemade chilli con carne and cheesy sweet potato mash topped with seasoned crushed tortilla chips.
The different layers of chilli, sweet potato and crispy tortilla topping are a flavour bomb in one bite!
Most of us love a slow-cooked meal, especially in the colder months. This is pure comfort food at its best. Making it in a large cast iron pan is practical, adds flavour and gives a rustic feel to the dish, plus less washing up to do!
About Some of the Ingredients
Chilli Con Carne Seasoning Mix
Use your favourite gluten-free store-bought chilli con carne mix or my homemade gluten-free chilli con carne seasoning mix that flavours the beef and other condiments, producing a very authentic chilli (or chili as spelt in the US). If you are after a blow-your-mind level of spiciness, increase the fresh chillis and cayenne pepper until it reaches your palate. The mix for this is included in the recipe card.
Dried Ancho Chilli Peppers
Found in many International and Mexican supermarkets, this sweet to moderately paprika-like chilli is widely used in Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, especially in chilli dishes as it offers a fantastic smoky quality.
Bought dry, the peppers have a long shelf life and are easily rehydrated for 20 minutes in hot water prior to cooking. The seeds and stems are removed easily, before chopping or blending the chillis into a semi-smooth pulp.
Alternatives: Dried ancho or chipotle chilli flakes
Ground or Minced Beef
Besides the chilli seasoning, the star of this dish is the beef, so naturally using the best quality beef available will raise the flavour to another notch. Pre-ground mince beef is readily available, but if you prefer to grind your own, aim for the beef chuck cut or ask your Butcher to mince it for you. Incidentally, this is the best cut to make burger patties with.
Alternatives: Ground or minced pork or turkey
Tinned corn or fresh corn kernels off the cob gives this chilli a nice bite and colour, plus adds more bulk and nutrition. If using fresh corn, cut the corn off the cob with a knife over a plate to capture the falling corn. The corn does not need to be pre-cooked as they simmer and soften while slow cooking.
Alternatives: Not a fan of corn? Use chopped red or green peppers/capsicums instead.
Red Kidney Beans
This bean buddies perfectly with the rest of the chilli ingredients to complete this family favourite dish. Only add the kidney beans to the chilli during the final 30 minutes of slow cooking as they absorb the chilli sauce efficiently, otherwise, they tend to disintegrate and appear mushy.
Tinned kidney beans are far more practical and less time-consuming than preparing dried kidney beans, but if you prefer this version, soak the beans overnight in water, drain and rinse, then simmer in fresh water for several hours until tender.
Alternatives: Pinto beans or black eye beans/peas
My first choice of stock is made from either a store-bought gluten-free beef stock cube or beef bone broth made from scratch (and so delicious & healthy) by following my beef stock recipe. The stock can be made the day before or even months before and frozen for dishes like this. If you are new to following a gluten-free diet due to health reasons as a celiac or simply wishing to improve your gut health, you may find my informative blog about stock making valuable …..
Balsamic Vinegar or Tamari Soy Sauce
Using either condiment balances the chilli flavour and adds a touch of umami.
Alternatives: Gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
The orange-flesh sweet potatoes (also known as OFSP) are the ones that have the perfect texture and colour to make this mash topping.
Alternatives: Pumpkin or a mixture of potatoes & carrots
Although only a small amount of crushed tortilla chips is used as the topping, it makes a big bang as far as texture and flavours are concerned, plus an appealing finish to the pie. Even though most store-bought tortillas are made using 100% corn, double-check the ingredients list on the package for gluten, as some brands add wheat flour.
Alternatives: Gluten-free taco shells
Is this a kid-friendly meal?
Children love the idea of a pie dish even if it isn’t a pastry-based dish. The interesting layers of flavours and textures will increase their curiosity about food, even for the fussiest!
This dish is the perfect opportunity to include those hidden vegetables or pulses in the chilli, without them even knowing they exist!
As far as the spiciness is concerned, aim to lower or leave out the cayenne pepper and fresh chillis. The dried ancho chilli peppers are not spicy, instead, they give a lovely smoky flavour to the chilli.
Can you Freeze Chilli Sweet Potato Pie?
Yes! Although it is wise to slice them into individual portions to make defrosting and serving easier. This recipe is an excellent batch cooking meal, where you can either freeze the chilli con carne on its own and then add the sweet potato mash topping once defrosted or if you are keen to make loads, get two pans going to double the recipe!
Chilli Sweet Potato Pie
Chilli con Carne Seasoning Mix
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick, or
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
Chilli con Carne
- 2 dried ancho chilli peppers, or
- 1 tbsp dried ancho/chipotle chilli flakes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6-7 tbsp store-bought or homemade chilli con carne seasoning mix (recipe included)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 700 g good-quality ground/minced beef
- 260 g tinned corn, drained or
- 2 fresh corn-on-the-cobs
- 2-4 fresh, long chillis, Serrano or Jalapeño, chopped
- 500-700 ml store-bought or homemade beef stock, chicken or vegetable stock
- 400 ml tinned crushed tomatoes or Passata
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or Tamari/gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves & upper stalks, finely chopped
- 420 g tinned red kidney beans, drained
- Salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to season
Sweet Potato Topping
- 1 kg orange sweet potatoes
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 125 g sour cream
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 55 g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 30 g gluten-free taco shells or tortilla chips
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
- ½ tsp chilli powder
To serve with
- Fresh coriander or parsley leaves, to garnish
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Sour cream, to serve
CHILLI CON CARNE SEASONING MIX
- Measure each ingredient listed (except the cinnamon stick) for the chilli con carne seasoning mix and add them to a small bowl.
- Whisk the ingredients using a fork or balloon whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Cover and set aside to add to the chilli con carne later.
CHILLI CON CARNE
Preparing the dried ancho chilli
- In a small frying pan, dry roast the dried ancho chilli peppers for 2 mins on each side to release the oil and slightly darken the skin.
- Place the chilli peppers into a heatproof bowl and pour hot water until the peppers are submerged. Allow them to soak for 20 mins.
- Remove the soaked chilli peppers and gently slice the peppers open with scissors, removing the stems, seeds and membranes. It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves during this step.
- Either chop the softened chilli peppers into small pieces or blend them into a rough pulp using a handheld blender stick or in a small food processor. If needed, add some of the soaking liquid while blending.
- Save the remaining soaking liquid but remove any visible seeds or stems by draining it in a sieve. Set the soaking liquid aside.
Preparing the chilli con carne
- Gather and measure all the chilli con carne ingredients.
- In a large cast iron or heavy bottom pan, add half of the olive oil and heat the pan to medium.
- Add the chopped onions and fry for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the minced garlic, frying for 2 mins.
- Add the remaining olive oil and sear the ground beef, mixing constantly for 5 mins until the beef is no longer pink.
- Next, add the prepared ancho chilli peppers (or dried chilli flakes)
- Followed by the store-bought or homemade chilli con carne seasoning mix, cinnamon stick (if using) and tomato paste. Using a wooden spoon, mix well and fry for 5 mins.
- Add the corn kernels, chopped fresh chillis, stock and remaining chilli soaking liquid.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes/Passata.
- Followed by the balsamic vinegar/Tamari and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 mins uncovered, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the bottom of the chilli is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little more stock if this is the case.
- After 45 mins, add the drained kidney beans, chopped coriander leaves & stalks and cook for a further 30 mins.
- Taste and season accordingly. If you prefer more spice in your chilli, add some extra chopped fresh chilli peppers until it reaches your spice level.
SWEET POTATO MASH
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into quarters.
- Add them to a large pot of salted cold water, cover with a lid and crank the heat up to the highest level to bring it to a boil.
- Simmer with the lid partially off for 15 mins until soft enough to mash.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and return them to the empty pot.
- With the heat still on, mash the sweet potatoes together with the butter.
- Once mashed, add the sour cream and milk.
- Remove from the heat and add the white pepper, cinnamon and half of the grated cheese.
- Crush the taco shells or tortilla chips briefly in a food processor. with the coriander leaves and chilli powder.
- In a separate bowl, mix the crushed tortilla mixture with the remaining cheese.
Assembling & baking the pie
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°.
- Spread the mashed sweet potato over the top of the chilli con carne mixture using a spatula or spoon.
- With a fork, make grid marks all over the mash.
- Scatter the tortilla topping mixture evenly over the mash.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake on the middle shelf for 20 mins.
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 mins until the top is golden and crispy.
- Allow the pie to cool down for 15 mins or more before serving. This gives the pie time to settle and not fall apart when sliced and served, otherwise use a large spoon to scoop out each portion into individual bowls.
- Garnish with fresh coriander or parsley leaves, and serve with lime wedges and a side of sour cream.
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Excellent to freeze in sliced portions
- Reheat in a moderate oven covered with foil for 10-12 mins
NOTEIf making this dish for children, lower or leave out the cayenne pepper and fresh chillis. The dried ancho chilli peppers are not spicy, instead, they give a lovely smoky flavour to the chilli.
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