Thursday, March 13, 2014

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day then with Irish FOOD!?! Shepherd's Pie (also known as Cottage Pie) is a layered casserole that originated in Ireland hundreds of years ago. This traditional Irish dish starts with a thick meat gravy containing carrots and peas that is topped with mashed potatoes, then baked to perfection.


This was my first time making... and eating a Shepherd's Pie! I'm actually surprised I have never had it before, it's your standard "meat & potatoes" type of meal. Needless to say, I honestly had no idea what to expect when making this dish. It was not a very complicated dish to make, it just required quite a few ingredients! I was pretty excited to see one of the ingredients was red wine... this dish would be a good way to use up an open bottle of wine, or (in my case) it would give you a reason to open a new bottle! :) I used a normal glass of red table wine, and since the original recipe doesn't state exactly how many ounces to use, I went ahead and guessed on that measurement.

I can now say, Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie is a warm, hearty, comfort food. If you are a lover of meat and potatoes, you'll absolutely love this recipe! This 'pie' has a thick, flavorful meat and veggie gravy that is topped with creamy, delicious mashed potatoes. This is one of those cozy, 'stick-to-your-ribs' kind of dishes. Great for a cold night!

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie
recipe via
Serves: 4-6   Yield:1 pie


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef or 1 lb lamb (I used ground beef)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 - 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 - 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 large quantity mashed potatoes (estimating 6 cups, fresh or leftover)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400°F.
  2. Saute carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender.
  3. Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat.
  4. Season with black pepper and thyme.
  5. Cook until browned then drain fat.
  6. Add the butter and peas.
  7. Sprinkle with flour and stir through.
  8. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste. (I added a bit more butter and a dash more flour to thicken the gravy up)
  10. Remove from heat. Grease an oven proof dish** (9x13 works for me, as does an oval baker) with butter and add the sauce.
  11. Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using.
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.
  13. Serve as is or with some crusty bread to mop up that yummy sauce!

My first attempt at Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie was a success! This was one hearty, tasty one-dish meal!! I mean... who doesn't love meat and potatoes?! I think this cozy dish goes best with a glass of red wine or beer. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


- Janel

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