Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shepherd Pie


A few years ago, a dear young woman (who I met online, and never in person) inspired me with her Irish cuisine. She had a food blog (though it has been removed since) and made the most wonderful dishes, many of which were inspired by her heritage. She had spent time in the U.S., however, and had a lovely knack for combining American and Irish.

This recipe is the perfect example. This is a beef-based Shepherd pie (though you could sub lamb if you like it) with a rich, tasty gravy, tender veggies, and topped with a pile of soft mashed potatoes -- perfect comfort food.

I like to make them in ramekins -- everyone gets their own little serving. But, if you don't have ramekins, or 6 oz. custard dishes, you can just as easily bake and serve this dish in an oval or rectangular baker.

When I took these pictures, I omitted the peas from the recipe because I intended to serve Peas and Bacon on the side. However, I later realized I was out of peas and that's why there is a side of Bacon Corn on the plate. ;-)

Shepherd Pie

olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef (or lamb)
1 cup onion, finely diced (or grated if you have onion detectives among you)
3 - 4 large carrots, finely diced
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
3 - 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 3/4 t. dried thyme)
2 T. flour
1 T. butter
1/4 c. red wine
2 T. tomato paste or 3 T. ketchup (I use ketchup)
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock (beef could also be used)
large quantity mashed potatoes (about 5 cups)*
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Heat about 1 T. olive oil in pan. Add carrots and cook until they start to get tender. Add onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat. Season with black pepper and thyme. Cook until browned then drain any fat. Add the butter and peas (if using). Sprinkle with flour and stir through. Add tomato paste (or ketchup), wine and Worcestershire sauce. Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to taste.

Remove from heat. Evenly divide meat mixture among ramekins or pour into casserole.

Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.

* For a low fat dish, mash your potatoes with low fat milk and salt -- no butter. You'll be surprised that they are just as good with no butter.


Carina said...

We LOVE D.'s mom's Shepherd Pie recipe too! In fact, we just
had it last week--so yummy! (I miss D.'s blog; not only did I get some great recipes, I found you through it!) :)

Thanks for the idea of using ramekins--never thought of that before!

Barb, sfo said...

I miss that Irish food blog too, and I also think that's where I found this one!
My kids might like this. If you have to cook it in a big pan, how much do you increase the bake time?

Carina said...

Barb, sfo:

I make this in a 9x13 pan and cook it for about 20 minutes (or until the potatoes have begun to brown a bit) in a 400 degree oven. Always turns out great! (But that might be because I use more red wine than a 1/4 cup!) ;)

scmom (Barbara) said...

Barb, it seems it takes the potatoes the same amount of time to brown no matter what size dish. I usually wait until the meat sauce is bubbling around the edges.

PS Yes, you can use more wine like Carina, but I usually use around 1/4 cup because the taste is strong for the kids with more.

Barb, sfo said...

Thanks to both of you! I think we'll be trying this soon.

Abby said...

How cute to make them in ramekins!

Barb, sfo said...

DELICIOUS! We had it tonight. A big hit, except for the peas (they would prefer corn, except Big Brother who is anti-corn.)

Just a note--this is a BIT too big for a 2-qt corning ware dish. Gravy leaked out all over...but that didn't affect the taste any.

Carina said...


I do mine in a 9x13" baking pan and it all fits in nicely. (And I often leave out the peas due to a picky daughter!) :)