Entree: Shepherd’s Pie (Parade of Pies, Part 12)

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie
This photo does not do justice to the scrumptiousness that was this pie. It wasn’t pretty but it was one of the tastiest of all the pies, which is why it’s the second to last one on this list. A shepherd’s pie is a meat pie with a mashed potato topping. I decided to make this a deep dish casserole, and so I did not include a bottom crust. You might find this pie reminiscent of our staple biscuit-topped chicken pot pie.

While this was one of the least conventional pies we made, I’m so glad we included it. The gravy was savory and packed with flavor. My mouth is watering remembering this pie, even though I ate it over four months ago. Several friends at our pie parade told us that they thought they didn’t like shepherd’s pie until they tried this one. I can’t take total credit for it though – the recipe was Alton Brown’s. I made a few changes to stretch it for a larger group.

Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

Based on Alton Brown’s recipe for Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 8 to 10 servings

For the potatoes:

  • 1½ pounds potatoes of your choice (we used a mix of Yukon Gold and red-skin potatoes)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen English peas


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a stovetop-safe casserole pan, like a French/Dutch oven, and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Add the corn and peas to the lamb and beef mixture. Remove casserole from the heat.
  6. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a baking pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.


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