Project Description

Shepherd’s Pie

I would never have attempted this recipe if it wasn’t for Mike. I think it’s more important to me than it is to him to incorporate Irish traditions into the blog and our life. He doesn’t really have Irish family recipes or traditions to share with me so every so often I do a little research. We had Shepherd’s Pie in Ireland and it was decadent and delicious. It’s much heavier than the food I’m used to since I rarely cook with so much butter. I’ve tried to recreate this Irish classic here as best I could, but it’s probably lighter on the butter than the traditional version. To start I went light on the olive oil as well because once the ground meat is added it will render its fat. I suggest using only enough oil so as not to burn your vegetables or the pan. This will give you rich tasting but not greasy results. I used a 4 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but you can use any same-sized sauce pot or skillet as long as it is oven proof. If oven-proof is not an option, you can easily transfer the meat mixture to a casserole pan before topping it with mashed potatoes and placing it in the oven. Just be sure to grease the casserole dish with a little butter or oil first. Take a look at the recipe below to see just what I’m talking about. It seems to me like this recipe should feed four, but Mike and I finished every last bite of it. Please don’t judge us.


  • Olive oil to lightly coat pan (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped small
  • 1 medium onion chopped small
  • 1/2 ground lamb – if you use beef it’s technically a Cottage Pie – just as yummy
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter – I used just a little less than a 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup beer – we used Guinness
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock – you can also use beef or even vegetable
  • Mashed potatoes – 3 average russet potatoes worth – see recipe below

Instructions – Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes

  1. Start with an oven-safe skillet or Dutch Oven
  2. Lightly coat the surface with olive oil
  3. Over medium heat sauté the carrots and celery first until they start to become tender
  4. Next add the onions
  5. Stir the vegetables consistently to prevent burning – if the pan becomes too dry, add some olive oil to the vegetable and stir to re-coat pan
  6. Season lightly with salt and pepper stirring to incorporate all of the vegetable
  7. When the onions are tender add the ground meat and season with salt, pepper and thyme
  8. Brown the meat, stirring so that all sides brown evenly and then add the butter, flour and tomato paste
  9. Stir to incorporate all ingredients and then add the beer
  10. Allow the beer to reduce for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning
  11. Add the peas
  12. Next add the broth and stir to incorporate
  13. Allow the broth to reduce until most of the broth is absorbed into the meat but the texture is still juicy
  14. Remove from heat
  15. Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them evenly over the meat mixture to cover entirely
  16. Brush with egg and then place in oven
  17. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned

Mashed potatoes


  • 3 average size russet potatoes, chopped in 1 inch cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons of milk
  • salt to taste

*the butter and milk amounts will vary slightly due to variation in average potato size; just taste as you go


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil
  2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and stir
  3. Allow the potatoes to cook in the water for 15 minutes
  4. Drain the potatoes and add them to a mixing bowl
  5. Whip the potatoes with an electric hand mixer
  6. Add the butter, milk and salt and mix to combine
  7. Set aside to use in topping your Shepard’s Pie