Friday, March 16, 2018

Traditional Irish Shepherds Pie: Classic Comfort Food





An Irish comfort food classic, Shepherds Pie is traditionally made from leftover lamb or mutton topped with mashed potato. Perfectly suited for using up leftovers from a Sunday Roast Leg of Lamb, the meat is simply chopped and simmered in a flavourful sauce so that it stays tender before being baked with a pillowy crown of mashed potato until it's golden brown and bubbling up along the edges. Served with a tumble of peas dotted with a knob of butter, this is the perfect meal to warm you up on a cold blustery winter evening or to celebrate the Feast of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.



Traditional Irish Shepherds Pie
Serves 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 lb ground lamb
1 large onion, finely diced
4 large carrots, finely diced
1 cup frozen peas
4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1 glass red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock
6 cups warm mashed potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish


Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Sauté the carrots in the olive oil until starting to become tender, then add the onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground lamb and season with black pepper and thyme. Cook until browned then drain the fat. Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir through, then add the tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Allow this to reduce slightly then add the chicken stock, and let reduce until it creates a thick meaty gravy. Season to taste and remove from heat. 

Grease a 9x13-inch oven proof casserole dish with butter then add the lamb mixture. Spoon the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the potato is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Serve immediately with a garnish of fresh parsley.