What’s cooking today: Sweet potato & beef mince bake

What’s cooking today: Sweet potato & beef mince bake
Tony Jackman’s sweet potato and savoury beef mince bake. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This is a variation on a cottage pie, using smooth and creamy sweet potato mash as a topping. These were kara sweet potatoes, the beautiful orange ones, which make for delicious eating and score high points for looks.

The sweetness of the potatoes contrasts with the savoury bite of the beef mince to create a delicious supper. A dash of peach chutney adds a little sweetness to the mince, contrasted with the sour of the red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and heat from the mustard. And don’t be shy with the butter in the potato; it makes all the difference.


3 Tbsp olive oil

500 g lean beef mince

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, grated

½ celery stick, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

80 g tomato purée

½ cup beef stock

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp peach chutney

1 tsp prepared hot English mustard

Salt and black pepper to taste

100 g mature Cheddar cheese, grated, and a sprinkling more for the top

1 kg Kara orange sweet potatoes

3 Tbsp butter

Salt and black pepper for the sweet potatoes


Time the mashed sweet potatoes to be ready just when you need to spoon the mash on top of the mince before going in the oven. Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes. Steam them over rapidly boiling water, covered, until tender. Drain. While still hot, stir in the butter, and season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, stirring, until softened and beginning to take on colour.

Crumble the mince in using your fingers, then use a wooden spoon to work it so that no clumps form and it is all incorporated into the mince.

Cook, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes.

Add the can of tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, the vinegars, Worcestershire sauce, chutney and mustard, stir well, and cook for 5 more minutes.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper, put a lid on, and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked away but the minced beef is still moist. Remove the lid and stir every few minutes so it doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the Cheddar until it is melted and distributed.

Grease a deep oven dish and spoon in the mince. 

Top it with the mashed sweet potatoes, edge to edge, and grate some Cheddar over, but not so much that you can’t see the lovely colour of the sweet potatoes. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Does this serve 4 Tony?

  • jane van den berg says:

    Do you bake this after putting cheese on mash?

    • Quentin Campbell says:

      Also want to know. I would. Grill it for a short while. But not to much to spoil the sweet potato mash. It would match nicely with the already melted cheddar in the mince.
      But then again, I am only a Master chef in my own kitchen 😀

    • Pet Bug says:

      Looks delicious!
      Yes, there seems to be the oven sentence missing: but we can finish the recipe 🙂
      spoon mince into greased oven dish, cover mince with the soetpatat, sprinkle cheese over – and into the oven.
      Sounds like 180 deg for say 30 minutes my guess… or under grilled for 5 or till cheese all melted and gooey… 😋

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