No need to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy this traditional shepherd’s pie. Tender lamb and vegetables bathe in a rich red wine gravy, blanketed in creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes and baked to perfection!
2poundsboneless lamb leg or shoulder, cut in ½ - ¾ inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 ½cupsleeks, chopped, white and pale green parts only
1 ½cupsdiced carrots
1cupred wine or stout beer
2cupschicken or beef broth
6sprigs fresh thyme
4sprigs fresh rosemary
1cupfrozen peas, thawed
1cupfrozen corn, thawed
3poundsYukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
2garlic cloves, peeled
3tablespoonsbutter, room temperature or melted
1cupwhite cheddar cheese, shredded plus extra for topping
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
In a medium bowl, combine lamb with flour. Season with salt and pepper.
Add coated lamb to pot and brown all over, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. With a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a clean bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm. Set aside.
Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in the pot. Add leeks, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add red wine or stout beer to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping with a wooden spoon and cook 2-3 minutes.
Return lamb to the pot. Stir in chicken or beef stock and Worcestershire sauce.
Tie thyme and rosemary sprigs together with kitchen twine. Toss the bundle and bay leaf in the pot.
Bring mixture to a boil; reduce to simmer. Partially cover, and simmer 40 minutes. Lamb should be tender and gravy thickened. (If using ground meat, you can simmer just 20 minutes. Stew meat takes longer to get tender.)
Remove bay leaf and thyme/rosemary bundle. Stir in peas and corn. Remove from heat. Let cool before spreading on mashed potato topping.
Lamb mixture should be thick like a stew. (Can be made 1 day ahead of assembling. Cover and refrigerate.)
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover by 1-inch with tap water.
Toss in thyme, rosemary and garlic.
Generously season the water with salt and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a gentle boil and cook potatoes until they are fork tender, 12-15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
Warm the milk in the microwave and add to the drained potatoes. Add the butter and cheese.
Season with salt and pepper. Mash or whip until fluffy and creamy.
Assemble & Bake
Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer lamb stew into lightly greased ramekins for individual portions or 13x9 casserole dish. Let cool before topping with potatoes.
Top with mashed potatoes. Place prepared dishes on a rimmed baking pan in case any of the stew bubbles over. Bake for 20 minutes.
Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Let filling cool and thicken up before spreading mashed potatoes on top so they don’t sink.
Make sure your mash is fluffy. Firm mash is hard to spread.
The filling can be made one day ahead of assembling, but not the mashed potatoes. They will be impossible to spread if refrigerated.
Place casserole dish or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any stew that may bubble over while baking. You don’t want to have to clean the oven after.
Storage & Reheating
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container up to 5 days. Reheat in an oven-safe dish uncovered at 375 degrees F until hot. Time will depend on portion size and if you had time to let the pie come to room temperature before popping in the oven. If in a pinch, microwave.
Freezing Shepherd's Pie
I highly recommend freezing assembled shepherd’s pie before baking. Cover tightly with foil and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bring to room temperature before baking in a 400-degree oven. Because of the density of the pie, I don't recommend baking from frozen.