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Shepherd's Pie: Super-duper Irish Comfort Food

Shepherd's Pie: Super-duper Irish Comfort Food

Published: 03/21/2011 by Janet

» Recipes: The Food that Makes us Floridians!

Almost Authentic Shepherd's Pie


Why do we only eat Irish food on St. Patrick's Day?  My daughter asked this question as we gobbled down our Corned Beef & Cabbage on Thursday.  Although Corned Beef is not always available, it got me to thinking about those other Irish recipes that get overlooked the rest of the year. 


I remember growning up that my mother used to make Shepherd's Pie from the leftover Sunday roast beef that she would put through an old fashioned meat grinder.  Actually, the Shepher's Pie was looked forward to as much (if not more) than the Sunday roast.  Occasionally, it was requested by one of us kids as our birthday meal, necessitating her to make the roast beef meal first (and making Daddy happy that he got an extra roast beef dinner that month!)  I have never had Shepherd's Pie using ground beef, but this was pretty spectacular, I must say.  Not as good as my mother's, but nothing ever is. 



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, peeled and grated (I use my food processor)

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated

3 carrots, peeled and grated

2 ribs celery, trimmed and grated

1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary

1 lb. ground lamb

1 lb. ground beef

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 ½  cups beef stock

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried


for the mashed potato topping

3 pounds of red skinned potatoes (about 6 large)
1 3 oz. package of cream cheese
1 ½  teaspoons of onion salt
½  cup of sour cream
1 tablespoons of butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Dash of smoked paprika

Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese




1.       Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

2.      Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Saute onions, garlic, carrots & celery until golden.  Add the rosemary, cook about 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat; reserve.

3.      In a separate pan, cook the ground beef and ground lamb until browned.  Drain off fat.

4.      Add the sautéed vegetables to the browned meat in the pan; stir.

5.      Add the ketchup and red wine.  Simmer until reduced by half. 

6.      Add the beef stock and the Worcestershire sauce and gently simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened.   Season with salt and pepper.   

7.      Spoon beef-lamb mixture into an ovenproof 2.5 quart dish. 

8.      Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Place in large pot with just enough water to cover them.  Boil in water until tender when pierced with a knife (about 15 minutes).  Drain immediately, and return to the pot.  Let them sit a few minutes (the steam water escaping is good).  Add all remaining ingredients except smoked paprika and parmesan cheese and beat with an electric mixer (don’t over beat). 

9.      Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat, top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of paprika.

10.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and heated through.


Serve with peas, and Irish soda bread with Kerrygold butter.  Look for the recipe for Irish Cream Cake for dessert!


Cook’s note:

You can omit the ground lamb and just use ground beef.  Also, my mother used to use leftover roast beef, ground in a meat grinder.