This simple shepherd's pie ticks all the boxes for a classic comfort food dish that is suitable for occasions other than St. Patrick's Day. This is a simple combination of ground lamb and vegetables cooked in a flavorful sauce. It's then covered with fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes that make a golden crust!
WHAT IS SHEPHERD’S PIE?
If you didn't know, Irish ladies in the 1800s experimented with leftovers to create shepherd's pie. Common ingredients and recipes included ground meat, mirepoix vegetables, and mashed potatoes. They must have reasoned, then, to mix them for the ultimate comfiest dinner.
A layer of mashed potatoes is placed on top of a flavorful minced lamb mixture to make shepherd's pie. Moreover, the filling is typically cooked with peas, carrots, onions, and celery.
It almost has the same flavor as chicken pot pie without the crust. Shepherd's pie became a popular dish because Irish people adore everything potato (particularly colcannon)!
SHEPHERD’S PIE INGREDIENTS
Shepherd's pie is very similar to cottage pie, if you've ever tasted it. Shepherd's pie employs lamb or mutton, while cottage pie uses beef. In the US, a shepherd's pie that substitutes lamb for ground beef is technically a cottage pie rather than a shepherd's pie. Semantics, oh my! But you'll need the following to make this.
- Ground Lamb: As previously said, ground lamb is typical, however ground beef or ground turkey can also be used.
- Vegetables: Carrots, celery, frozen peas, and onions are among the vegetables I've incorporated.
- Broth: Lamb pairs well with chicken broth. Nevertheless, if you're using ground beef, I recommend using beef broth.
- Tomato paste: This adds thickness and flavor to the sauce (without the use of flour).
- Worcestershire Sauce: Since Worcestershire sauce has a layered taste, it adds depth to the beef filling. Please read my notice below if you are gluten-free!
- Mashed potatoes: To make beautifully fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes, simply follow my recipe.
HOW TO MAKE SHEPHERD’S PIE
Mashed potatoes will be the first item you cook. You may do this the day of or the day before to speed up the procedure. After that, go to the meaty filling and preheat your oven to 400°F.
Cook until all of the vegetables and beef are tender. Then, put in all of the delicious herbs and aromatics and cook for a few minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Just remember to save the frozen peas for the end because they can become mushy if cooked for too long!
The last step is dolloping and spreading the mashed potatoes on top. After that, place the shepherd's pie in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that the mashed potatoes don't burn on top!
SHEPHERD’S PIE VARIATIONS
Low-Carb/Keto: Substitute mashed cauliflower for the mashed potatoes.
Dairy-free: Use non-dairy milk and replace the butter in the mashed potatoes with ghee or another dairy-free spread.
Vegetarian/Vegan: Replace the lamb with a combination of mushrooms and lentil.
Paleo/Whole30: Use mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, or even mashed butternut squash in place of the peas (you can cut the green beans).
Also, you can use a little arrowroot powder to thicken the shepherd's pie and add a big splash of red wine along with the chicken broth for a fuller shepherd's pie.
PREP THIS AHEAD OF TIME
If you want to prepare this in advance, keep the mashed potatoes and filling chilled in separate containers. Let the potatoes and filling sit at room temperature to soften before assembling when you're ready to bake. After that, immediately place it in the oven to bake.
Just store leftovers in freezer-safe containers for up to three months when it's time to freeze them. If you also want to prepare the meals on a Sunday night, this can be a terrific option. Simply bake it, cut it into six pieces, and freeze it!
COMPLETE YOUR ST. PATRICK’S DAY DINNER
Observe St. Patrick's Day with traditional Irish cuisine! If you wish to serve a festive Irish buffet, serve the Shepherd's Pie with:
- Sautéed Cabbage (or this Fried Cabbage)
- Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Irish Lamb Stew
- Cabbage Soup
- Potato Leek Soup
- Irish Coffee
MORE EASY COMFORT FOOD IDEAS
Do you feel like more comfort food right now? These delectable meal recipes will satisfy any cravings.
- Best Ever Chili
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Apple Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Poached Chicken And Winter Vegetable Soup
- Braised Short Ribs
As calming as they come, shepherd's pie like this one is simple. If you do make it, please leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out!
EASY SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE
- Cast Iron Pan This braiser is my favorite large cast iron pan!
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalk, diced
- 1 ½ pounds ground lamb or ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth, or if using ground beef use beef broth
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, see notes above
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Place the potatoes in a pot on the stove and cover with cold water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return to the pot. Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash until creamy.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large oven-safe saute pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a minute. Then add the diced carrots, diced celery, and lamb. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the meat is browned. Use your spatula to break up the meat while cooking.
- Drain the fat from the pan and add the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Add the frozen peas and stir together. Turn off the stove and use the back of your spatula to flatten the meat mixture into a single layer.
- Dollop the mashed potatoes on top of the meat and use a spoon or spatula to spread it flat to the edges. If desired, create texture in the potato topping with a spoon or fork.
- Bake the shepherd's pie until slightly golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. You can broil the top for 1 to 2 minutes as well.
- If you’d like to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the ground lamb for veggies such as mushrooms and lentils.
- You can use ghee instead of butter and non-dairy milk for the milk as well.