Lamb Shepherd's Pie

December 2, 2008

Shepherd's pie is a comforting meat pie made with layers of lamb (typically leftover from a previous meal), carrots, peas, and topped with a "crust" of fluffy mashed potatoes. In the late 1700s, when the potato was first introduced as an edible crop, shepherd's and cottage (made with beef) pies became an affordable dish for rural workers.

Shepherd's pie, like its cottage cousin, is easy to make and follows no hard-fast rules when it comes to ingredients or assemblage. Use whatever vegetables suit you, though carrots and peas are hard to beat, we've also used mushrooms and corn, both of which are quite common. Line the dish with a "crust" of mashed potatoes or simply top the pie with a hearty layer. Whichever way you do it, it will come out delicious.

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 8


For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the lamb filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or leftover lamb, ground or finely minced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A pinch each of dried rosemary and thyme
1 cup frozen peas, thawed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare the mashed potatoes:
Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, warm the milk and butter in the microwave for about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the milk, butter, salt and pepper. Continue to mash until smooth but take care to not over mash or the potatoes will become gummy.

Prepare the lamb filling:
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.

Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the carrots and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into a deep baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing to the edges of the baking dish with a rubber spatula.

Place on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Remove from oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.



Gene's picture

Right on- made one recently too...

comey_lote's picture

Thanks for dropping at my blog..
Nice site u have...and the mouthwatering recipes are awesome!! the photos make me tempted even more!!

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Rosa's picture

Oh, how comforting! That pie looks incredibly good!



Peter's picture

Oh yes...this speaks to my early days in Toronto when a good, genuine Shepherd's Pie could be ordered.

Seduction Meals's picture

Yummy, nice recipe and a great winter meal

Nicole's picture

Yummy recipe looks delicious. A friend of mine makes a yummy shepard pie but nothing like this one. I am going to give this a try for sure.
Terrific Site.
Keep up the good work.