Ahhhh…Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's PieAs a chill chases away the warm summer air, and the trees start to glow in crimsons, bright oranges and yellows, we Canadians begin to feel the urge to settle into hibernation mode. Sweaters go on our backs, scarves around our necks, and we’re all clutching a warm cup of coffee or tea as we drop our kids off at school or set off to work on these brisk fall mornings. Although not all of us do at this point, actually some never do, I’ve pretty much abandoned the barbecue and returned to my kitchen oven. So, with that change, I have to change my menu too – pork chops to roast pork, BBQ salmon to baked white fish, and grilled veggies to stewed veggies. Of all the barbecued foods I enjoy however, grilled lamb chops are my favourite and I hate to give up the taste of lamb for months on end. So I have a collection of great lamb dishes and one of my favourites is Shepherd’s Pie. Its so savoury and rich – perfect for the cooler days.

Shepherd’s Pie, according to sources, originated sometime during the 18th century in Northern England and Scotland after the introduction of potatoes to the area. This, of course, appeals to my Scottish heritage…but more so to my taste-buds!! This recipe, from The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking (1997) cookbook, is the best I’ve ever eaten. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.


Boil 1 1/2 lbs (680g) of potatoes and cook until tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Mash the potatoes adding the cooking water along with:

1 tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper

Beat with a wooden spoon until fluffy.
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
While the potatoes are cooking, heat in a medium skillet over medium-low heat:

3 tbsp vegetable oil


1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped

Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add:

1 lb (454 g) leftover cooked lamb, finely chopped, or raw ground lamb

Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to brown evenly. If using raw lamb, cook for 10 minutes more, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Spoon off any fat. Add:

1 tbsp flour

Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add:

3/4 cup beef or vegetable stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove to a 9-inch pie plate or cooking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, making irregular peaks with the tines of the fork. Scatter over the top:S. Pie Slice

2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

Bake until the potatoes are browned and the dish is heated all the way through, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve directly from the baking dish.

Now EAT IT!! πŸ˜€


16 thoughts on “Ahhhh…Shepherd’s Pie

  1. YUUUUUUMERS!!!!! That sounds and looks DELICIOUS … I will see that I can find lamb-meat around here and try it out! I have a similar one … it’s called PASTEL DE PAPA and originally comes from Argentina – I’ll post the recipe or rather my variation! My kids ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner … and when they were hungry later on, as well. It NEVER “survived” 24 hours …

    Thanks so much Isobel!!! πŸ™‚


    1. Oh Karin!! I can’t wait to read your recipe!! Something tells me if its from Argentina, its probably a lot more zesty than Shepherd’s Pie. It will be great to try! So happy to see you here Karin. πŸ˜€


  2. I was about to say this looks a lot like a papa rellena (stuffed potato), very popular here in Peru. I see Karin got a similar idea.
    Anyway, this looks great! I’m sure it tastes great too.


    1. Thanks, Gabriela! I hope you’ll post your recipe too. I love collecting recipes from around the world!! That’s been part of this whole blogging experience…so many people are trading recipes! Its GREAT!! πŸ™‚


  3. Ah, Isobel! One of our fam favs! I make it with whatever leftover vegetables and meat are in the frig, so sometimes it tastes like hamburgers, spaghetti, tacos or fasuulia (Lebanese meat and green bean stew).

    Nice to connect with you again that the summer days are done.


    1. KINZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its so nice to see you again. Yes, now that the chaos of summer and the beginning of school is over, I can drop by your place again too. You know, I always used to make Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef and it was mediocre at best. After finding this recipe with the lamb I can’t get enough of it. Apparently when its made with beef (and perhaps anything but lamb) its called Cottage Pie. Who knew? πŸ˜€


  4. This sounds and looks delicious. Yes Karin it’s close to your recipe which I’ve already tried and loved.
    But I want to give this one a shot too. The subtle differences are worth experimenting with and a whif of Scotland!
    Kinzi, Lebanese Beans?! Come on give me a break. If you leave it to the Lebanese God Almighty is from Jabal Lebnan originally,loool. Silly beans in all their shapes and forms known in the Middle East are Med Sea Basin common food. Everyone cooks beans in the region but they are as Lebanese as Zaatar and Labneh.
    Isobel, thank you for this mouth watering recipe. Once tried I’ll tell you about the results πŸ™‚


    1. Hi Abufares!! I hope you’ll like it. Its very…you know…British “meat and potatas” (or is that Canadian…lol!) but we folks who live in the cold north need the heavy stuff so we don’t freeze to death!!

      Gee, I thought everything Middle Eastern came from Lebanon too…;) At least, that’s how its marketed in Ottawa!! lol!!

      Thanks for being here, as always! πŸ˜€


  5. I like it but replace the celery with about 100g of peas. However if you add a tablespoon of Lea and Perrins to the stew it really livens it up. I also sprinkle a few chilli flakes on top and serve with pickled red cabbage. In fact I might just do that for tea tonight.


  6. Great post!! The introduction actually made me embrace the change of weather we’ve been seeing, and that picture just made me drool. Shepherd pie is one of those classics that I can never get enough of. I think you’ve given inspiration for today’s meal.


    1. Hi Omar! Welcome back! I hope you had a good trip. πŸ™‚ Fall is my favourite time of year…even though I don’t like that it means winter comes next. But its such a beautiful time…especially now when the days still get warm and the sun glistens through the colourful leaves! See, I get carried away just thinking about it! lol!! If you make the pie tonight, or any night for that matter, I hope you enjoy it! πŸ˜€ Eid Mubarak!


  7. Wow, gotta try this one. It looks absolutely delicious. I think I had it once before. The mother of an ex fiance made it Christams time in Boston many years ago. I’m gonna try making it soon. Thanks for sharing.


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