Shepherd’s Pie

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!

Shepherd's Pie
Your ingredients. If you can find fresh peas, great, but if you’re like most people, you’ll be using frozen like me.

Shepherd's Pie
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).

Shepherd's Pie
With a slotted spoon, place the ground lamb into a separate bowl and set aside.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
Cover and cook for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

Shepherd's Pie
When the vegetables are softened, add the 1/2 cup of white wine to the vegetables.

Shepherd's Pie
Cook until the wine has evaporated, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you go.

Shepherd's Pie
Add in the tomatoes, beef broth, minced garlic, oregano, and thyme and bring to a boil.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
Set aside until you’re ready to use.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
Place the meat in a 9×13 inch casserole dish, or place it in four separate individual serving dishes/ramekins.

Shepherd's Pie
Top with the mashed potatoes.

Shepherd's Pie
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.

Shepherd's Pie
Serve and enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9x13 pan
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!


22 Responses

  1. ingrid says:

    While I’m not certain about the lamb I think my guys would love this! Though it takes several steps to make it really isn’t that difficult! Thanks for sharing!

    Have a told you how awesome you are? You’re one of the first places I check for dinner ideas, if not the very first! I don’t always get a chance to say but I’ve not made one of your recipes that hasn’t been terrific. Oh, yeah and before I forget thanks for all the pork recipes! Pork is always a welcomed protein at my house! I hope MY grocery store puts it on sale so I can rack up on some!

  2. SMM says:

    Glad to see you didn’t take the skins off the potato.

    The very thought of this warms my belly.

  3. Beth D. says:

    Yum! Will have to try this with ground beef, and the hubby doesn’t like lamb either. BTW, I got a Canon PowerShot SD690 IS, and I love it. Thanks for the advice!

  4. ~m says:

    love the ramekin idea! totally eliminates the problem i usually have: everything falls apart when i try to serve cottage pie. (btw, is there a secret to cohesion?)

  5. nina says:

    I think guests always love this dish, because they can see how much love went into making it. Your version looks especially good!!!

  6. Kristen says:

    This recipe looks so delicious… I love the parmasean cheese on top – great idea!

    I second Ingrid’s comments about what a fabulous job you do on your site. I LOVE the pictures of the ingredients and and the step-by-step pictures and instructions. They are the BEST! You make a complicated and time-consuming dish like shepherd’s pie look so easy! And it’s the perfect dish for a cool, fall day!


  7. Mary says:

    This looks so good!! I’ve never tried ground lamb, but I do love gyros so I’ll give it a whirl.

  8. I’m Having a hard time looking for ground of lamb whenever i get the mood to cook a shepherds pie, can i use another kind of meat though? will this change the taste of the whole pie?

  9. ~m says:

    when i try to serve it, everything falls apart. is there a magic trick to getting the meat layer to stick to itself and to the potato layer? or should i just adopt your ramekin idea and forget scoop-serving for each person?

  10. Paulette says:

    Hi I found your picture on Food Gawker yesterday. I made your dish for a party of 12 and got many compliments. Even my father-in-law gave it thumbs up, shepherds pie is one of his favorite dishes. I wasn’t sure if I would like the lamb so I went half and half with beef. The lamb would have been fine. Thank you for the great easy to follow recipe!

  11. Paulette says:

    Mine did the same. My father in law said it had to sit for five minutes. So I had served the first piece but let the rest sit, made all the difference.

  12. Rebecca says:

    I’m looking forward to making this! Does it freeze well? I’m only cooking for my husband and myself, so I would probably make it and freeze some for a future date.

  13. Erica says:

    I am interested in making this dish for my family, but my mother cannot have any wheat. Could I leave the flour out or substitute it with something else?

  14. Amanda says:

    This was delicious!! I’ve always wanted to make shepherd’s pie, but didn’t know quite where to start… Thanks again for the inspiration and fantastic recipes!

  15. […] Adapted from Crepes of Wrath […]

  16. Bez Harrington says:

    This is a great recipe – I am originally from Kent, UK, and we always use ground beef in our Shepherds Pie – followed this recipe (with the addition of Ground Beef, and I cannot resist adding 1 tspn. Garam Masala). Also try some finely sliced leeks on top with the parmesan.

  17. admin says:

    Christa: You can use ground beef; it will still taste great! The only difference is that it’s called Cottage Pie. :)

  18. admin says:

    Kristen: Thank you so much! It means a lot!

  19. admin says:

    ~m: Thanks! But I’m not sure what you mean by cohesion?

  20. admin says:

    Ingrid: Thank you so much! I wish I had more time to browse blogs and make comments because yours is so great! After school/work/wedding craziness is over, I hope to have more time to browse. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

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