Shepherd’s Pie

16 Jan


I was pretty sure that I was the cook in this house, but Patrick keeps proving his own worth in that arena, dang him.  But also, yay him!  And me!  Because I get to eat his awesome food, and he’s WAY better at cleaning as he goes, so the dishes aren’t even as bad as one might fear.

After booking a trip to Ireland for the summer, he was inspired, and decided to surprise me with a little pre-vacation Irish celebration.  I came home from work to the most amazing Shepherd’s Pie I’ve ever had (no lie, and I’m totally not just saying that to be nice), bacon & Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of honey (admittedly not Irish per se, but delicious, and hey – they’re green), and Guinness – of course.

Adapted from the recipe at Genius Kitchen, here’s the low down on Patrick’s version.


  • tablespoon olive oil
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • lb ground beef (he used grass fed)
  • 1/2 lb lamb (grass fed again)
  • large onion, finely diced
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • tablespoons flour
  • tablespoon butter
  • glug of red wine (he used a Zinfandel)
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • cup reduced sodium chicken stock
  • large quantity mashed potatoes (estimating 1L or 6 cups, fresh or leftover) – he used Russets, and used the usual mashed potato accoutrements – salt, pepper, milk, butter – AND he mixed some of the Parmesan cheese through as well
  • egg, beaten
  • grated Parmesan cheese 
  • grated sharp cheddar cheese – Tillamook makes a tasty one  (for the cheeses, the amount you use is really up to you, but might I suggest “lots”?  Grate a cup and a half of cheddar and a half cup of Parm to be safe; not including the Parm you may have used in the mashed potatoes – ain’t nothin’ wrong with cheese. . unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case just skip all of that cheese nonsense)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Saute carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender.
  3. Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat.
  4. Season with black pepper and thyme.
  5. Cook until browned then drain fat.
  6. Add the butter and peas.
  7. Sprinkle with flour and stir through.
  8. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick, meaty gravy. Season to taste.
  10. Remove from heat. Grease a 9×13 oven proof dish with butter and add the meat/veg/gravy base.
  11. Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Patrick chose to spread his spuds out evenly, then dragged a fork lightly across the top to create ridges.
  12. Brush with egg, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.
  13. If you’re using the cheese, you can either add it 5 minutes ago, or add it now and pop it under the broiler so it gets all bubbly and browned.

Let cool slightly before serving, so it holds its shape a bit better, and you don’t scald the inside of your mouth.

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