Shepherd’s pie hails from northern Britain, but it has found a place in the modern American cooking lexicon as well. This rich lamb stew blanketed by a mashed potato crust is a dish that sticks to ribs on one side of the Atlantic as well as on the other side. This recipe shows us how to make simple but delicious shepherd’s pie from scratch.
- 3 lbs (1350g) ground lamb
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press (about 4 tsp)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/3 cup (80g) all purpose flour
- 3 cups (700ml) chicken broth
- 3/4 cup (180ml) dry red wine
- 2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
- 1 lb (450g) frozen peas and carrots (do not thaw)
- ground black pepper
- 3 lbs potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups (350ml) heavy cream, warmed
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- minced parsley leaves (optional)
Shepherd’s Pie – Cooking
- Cook lamb in large pan over medium-high heat, breaking the meant into small pieces with wooden spoon, until meat is no longer pink and fat has rendered. It all takes about 5 minutes. Drain lamb in fine strainer, reserving drippings.
- Return 2 tablespoons of reserved dripping to pot and heat over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1 – 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and red wine. Stir in drained lamb, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and rosemary and cook until mixture begins to thicken, 2 – 4 minutes. Off the heat, Stir in peas and carrots and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to baking dish (13in by 9in or 36cm by 23cm), set aside.
- Meanwhile, place potatoes in large pot and cover by water. Lightly season with salt. Brign to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Drain potatoes, return to pot set over low heat, mash to smooth consistency. Stir in cream, then add butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- With large spoon, dollop mashed potatoes over lamb filling. Using rubber spatula, smooth potatoes out into even layer and push the edges of the baking tray.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Bake until sauce is bubbling and top is browned, about 1 hour.
Shepherd’s Pie – Storing
To store shepherd’s pie wrap baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, then with tin foil. Refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw casserole in refrigerator at least 24 hours before baking.
Shepherd’s Pie – Optional
- To add little colour, sprinkle the top of the finished dish with chopped parsley leaves before serving.
- Ground beef or even ground turkey can be substituted for the ground lamb. For a turkey or beef version, use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil instead of reserved lamb drippings. Bake the pie as directed above in the recipe, reducing the baking time to 35 minutes.
Based on recipe by Megan Wycoff and Matthew Card.