Shepherd’s pie is really just a cottage pie that uses lamb. Though its name implies this pie was eaten by shepherds, Shepherd’s pie most likely was a picnic food for the English aristocracy. Some of the first recipes were created for the Dukes of Bedford on their estate at Woburn Abbey, although they may have been stolen from Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, the French agronomist who spent a lifetime introducing the potato to French cuisine.
In this recipe, feel free to substitute the lamb with your ground meat of choice. However, you may wish also to replace the water with a beef or vegetable stock if you substitute out the lamb.
For the Pie
- 1.5 lb ground lamb
- 1 yellow onion – diced
- 2 carrots – chopped small
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 8 oz mushrooms – sliced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ¾ cup water
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
For the Topping
- 3 large russet potatoes – peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup aged cheddar – shredded
- ½ stick of unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the lamb and drain off some of the excess fat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and mushrooms to the beef and saute until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender. Add the spices, the tomato paste, and the flour and cook until the flour is incorporated.
Add the water, Worcestershire sauce, and peas and cook until thickened. Adjust the seasoning and transfer the contents to the baking dish.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until soft. Drain and return to pot. Add the butter and hand mash the potatoes. Stir in the milk to the desired consistency and whisk in the cheese until melted.
Top the pie with a thick layer of the mashed potatoes. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake until the top is browning and the sides of the dish are bubbly – about 30 minutes.
Cool for ten minutes before serving.
Our Heritage Cabernet Franc compliments and enhances the rich flavors of lamb, rosemary, and thyme in this dish.