Kel’s Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

As I mentioned in my post on Irish stew last week, I’m sharing a few recipes that you may want to consider making to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Today’s recipe is for Shepherd’s pie – one of my go to meals whenever I eat in an Irish restaurant. The combination of the ground lamb, gravy and mashed potatoes makes this a favorite comfort food, especially on a cold day.

This traditional shepherd’s pie calls for lamb, but you can substitute beef instead if you prefer (which technically changes the name of this dish to “cottage pie” in case you’re interested.) And the leftovers the next day are fantastic!


  • Leftover Parmesan-garlic mashed potatoes (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced (2-3 stalks)
  • 1 lb ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (1 teaspoon if you use dried thyme)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste (I use at least 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 oz. red wine (I use a good Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup stock (I used vegetable, but chicken or beef will work)
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional – not needed if you use the next ingredient, extra sharp cheddar cheese)
  • 1 cup of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 can of Guinness Draught


Make the Parmesan-garlic mashed potatoes (see recipe below) and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F.

In a large skillet, sauté carrots in the olive oil until they start to get tender. Add the celery and onion and cook for a few minutes.

Add the ground lamb, season with the salt, pepper and fresh thyme, and sauté until the lamb has browned. Drain thoroughly and return to the skillet.

Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir until well blended.

Pour in the wine and add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Let this reduce a bit and add the stock. Cook until you have a nice and hearty gravy. Take a taste and see if you need to add any additional seasoning.

Grease a 9”x13”casserole dish (I use cooking spray) and add the lamb and veggie mixture.

Evenly spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Reward yourself for all of this hard work with a wonderful Guinness (it is good for you, you know.)

If for some reason you aren’t going to use the cheese, brush the top with the egg, and bake for 20-25 minutes. However, I totally recommend making this with the cheese on top, so skip the egg wash, throw this bad boy into the oven, and cook for 25 minutes or so. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and bake until it melts and starts browning a bit (about 5 minutes.)

Let the Shepherd’s pie sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a nice tossed salad, some nice crusty bread and a glass of good red wine.

Parmesan-garlic mashed potatoes

While these potatoes are great to top off your Shepherd’s pie, they are so good as an alternative to regular mashed potatoes.


  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (about six cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% fat)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 30 minutes. Drain well.

Add the milk, garlic, butter and salt and mash with a potato masher. I like to have a few small chunks of potato in mine, but if you prefer yours to be completely smooth then use a mixer instead.

Blend in the Parmesan cheese.

If you are using these for the Shepherd’s pie recipe, set them aside until you are ready to use.

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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5 Responses to Kel’s Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Pingback: Food of the Month, March 2012: Corned Beef | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

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  3. Pingback: Drink of the Month – Guinness (It’s Good for You, You Know) | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

  4. Pingback: Shepherd’s Pie | Me Loving Life

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