Kramer and I are big shepherd’s pie fans. We order it whenever we get the chance, and making it at home is always a special treat. I usually make cottage pie, though, because I was always under the impression that Kramer wasn’t a fan of lamb. When I suggested that I make it recently, though, he told me that I had better get ground lamb to make it with. I was surprised, but also very excited because I love lamb. My dad made it a million different ways when I was growing up, so it’s something I really enjoy. Despite the fact that we had to go to 3 different grocery stores in our area to find ground lamb (can you believe that?), the end result was a deliciously rich shepherd’s pie, perfect for any occasion. Shepherd’s pie is truly one of those “crowd pleasing” dishes; it’s got a hearty meat base with simple vegetables like carrots, onion, celery, peas, and tomatoes (I added these and thought it was a great idea) that won’t scare away picky eaters. The topping, however, makes shepherd’s pie what it is; creamy, melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes. The whole thing is then baked in the oven and the top of the potatoes become just a bit crisp. When you dig it, you know you’re looking at one satisfying meal. It’s finally autumn, so make something seasonal like this shepherd’s pie! You and your loved ones will be begging for more!
Your ingredients. If you can find fresh peas, great, but if you’re like most people, you’ll be using frozen like me.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the lamb, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and about 2 teaspoons of flour. Stir and cook until no longer pink (but don’t overcook it).
With a slotted spoon, place the ground lamb into a separate bowl and set aside.
Begin to boil your roughly chopped potatoes in salted water. Bring the water to a boil and let cook for 15-20 minutes, until fork tender. I always leave the skins on my potatoes because the skins add fiber and texture to the mashed potatoes, plus I’m way too lazy to peel them all, but you can peel them if you like.
Add some more oil to the pan if needed, but if there’s still enough in there from the lamb, just go right ahead and add in the chopped carrots, diced onions, and diced celery. Turn the temperature to medium-low.
Cover and cook for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
When the vegetables are softened, add the 1/2 cup of white wine to the vegetables.
Cook until the wine has evaporated, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you go.
Add in the tomatoes, beef broth, minced garlic, oregano, and thyme and bring to a boil.
Add in the cooked ground lamb, cover, and make sure the heat is on medium-low (the highest medium-low setting; don’t let the heat get too low). Allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes covered, then uncover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, until the liquid has reduced significantly.
Meanwhile, drain your cooked potatoes. Mash them up, adding in 1/4 cup of butter, 3 tablespoons of buttermilk (or regular milk), 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, and about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Set aside until you’re ready to use.
When the meat sauce is reduced, add in the peas that you’ve already prepared according to the package directions. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Place the meat in a 9×13 inch casserole dish, or place it in four separate individual serving dishes/ramekins.
Top with the mashed potatoes.
And sprinkle with cheese and a little paprika, if you like. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes if using individual serving dishes, or at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes if using a 9×13 dish.
Serve and enjoy!
- olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 onion, diced
- ¾ cup diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 5 stalks celery, diced
- ½ cup white wine
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1½ cups (12 ounces) low-sodium beef stock
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup frozen peas, cooked according to package directions
- 1.5 pounds potatoes, washed and chopped roughly
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk (or regular milk)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook the lamb until no longer pink. With a slotted spoon, remove the lamb to a separate bowl and set aside.
- Heat a bit more olive oil in the pot if needed, then add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and add in the wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add in the lamb, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced significantly. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- To make the potatoes, place the potatoes in water and bring to a boil, allowing to boil for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. When cooked, drain and mash together with the butter, buttermilk or regular milk, garlic powder, cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
- When the meat is reduced, add in the peas and stir. Remove from heat. Spoon the mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish or 4-6 individual serving dishes/ramekins (depending on how big they are). Spoon/spread the potatoes on top, fluffing a bit with a fork if needed and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and paprika, if you like. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes if using a 9x13 dish or at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes if using individual dishes. Serve hot and enjoy!