Chorizo Shepherd’s Pie with Orange-Scented Sweet Potatoes

I have never been very excited about traditional shepherd’s pie, so I decided to make a spunkier version with some Spanish influence—spicy chorizo, piquillo peppers, and saffron-scented sweet potatoes with a hint of orange. It all blends together beautifully, and it makes me want to add orange and saffron to sweet potatoes for the rest of my life.

Prep time 30 minutes
Serves 6

1 pinch of saffron
3 cups (984 g) cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces (340 g) ground pork
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (170 g) Spanish chorizo, diced
2 tablespoons (60 g) tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (160 g) chopped yellow onion (about half a medium onion)
1/2 cup (75 g) chopped piquillo peppers (or regular roasted red peppers, 90 g)
2 heaping cups (60 g) chopped baby spinach

1 Put the saffron in a tablespoon (15 ml) of warm water and let it bloom for a couple of minutes.

2 Put the potatoes in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the orange zest, salt, and the saffron with its yellow liquid. Set the potatoes aside.

3 Cook the ground pork in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small bits, for 10 to 12 minutes, until fully cooked. Sprinkle with salt and add the chorizo to the skillet. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until the chorizo and pork have golden brown spots. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the meat to a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker. Discard the grease.

4 Stir the tomato paste, paprika, and garlic into the meat mixture. Fold in the chopped onions, peppers, and spinach. Spread the reserved potato mixture over the top.

5 Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. The sides should be bubbly, and the potatoes heated through.

6 Turn off the slow cooker, remove the lid, and let the shepherd’s pie sit for 10 minutes before serving.