Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie would actually call for ground lamb. The difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie is the meat. Cottage Pie uses ground beef, while Shepherd’s Pie uses ground lamb.
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CHARLOTTE – Another recipe with Heritage- Shepherd’s Pie originated in the United Kingdom but has become a favorite around St. Patrick’s Day for its provenance to Ireland.  It’s what we would consider to be a casserole in the since that it is in a pan and all in one dish!  Another note- Shepherd’s Pie is with Lamb and Cottage Pie is with beef.  For those who want either, you can generally substitute, but for authenticity purposes, choose lamb!  This recipe goes well with Guinness and is hearty for cooler nights in our month of March…  Now put on some authentic Celtic or Irish Folk music on and make some memories!  Enjoy~

Shepherds Pie (yields 4-6 servings)

Prep Time: 45 Minutes | On the Table: 75 Minutes


4 large Russet Potatoes, peeled   |  1 stick Butter  |  ½ cup Milk

2 teaspoons Sea Salt  |  1 teaspoon Black Pepper- fresh milled  |  ½ teaspoon Garlic powder


1 medium Yellow Onion, medium diced  |  1 cup English Peas, frozen

3 stalks Celery, diced  |  2 medium Carrots, diced  |  ½ cup Corn, frozen

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb  |  Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste  | 4 tablespoon AP Flour

|  2 teaspoon Garlic, minced  |  1 teaspoon Thyme  |  Pinch of Ground Cloves

2 Bay Leaves  |  1 tablespoon Parsley, chopped  |  ½ teaspoon Rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce  |  ½ cup Beef Broth  |  3 tablespoons Tomato Paste

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)  |  1 teaspoon Parsley flakes



Quarter your russet potatoes and add into a sauce pan with enough water to cover.  Add 4 turns of salt into the water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  In another pan on low, add in your milk, butter- bring this to a simmer and then turn OFF.  (while the potatoes are cooking- start the lamb…)

Preheat your oven to 375 Fahrenheit.  In a large skillet or braiser pan, over medium heat, add in your lamb, 5 turns of salt and 7 turns of pepper and sauté for 3 minutes, breaking up the lamb. Add in the onions, celery, garlic, thyme, ground cloves, rosemary and carrots and sauté for an addition 4 minutes.  Try and evaporate most of the liquid, but leave the lamb fat.  NOW- sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir well and continue cooking for 4 minutes.  Finally, add in your beef broth, corn, peas, tomato paste, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and parsley and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Back to the potatoes…  normally, mashed potatoes should be lumpy or chunky, but for this recipe, you should use your electronic hand mixer.  Drain your potatoes completely of water.  You can place these back in your sauce pan, or in a separate bowl- with the hand mixer on low, add in your HOT milk and butter mixture, your salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Mix on low, until the potatoes break down, then mix on high and whip it real good- NOW- place the whipped potatoes on top of the lamb mixture, sprinkle with the parmesan and parsley flakes and bake for 20 minutes. (if you can use your braiser pan that you cooked the base in, DO IT!  If not, grease a casserole pan or deep pie dish).

Let this rest for 10 minutes before diving in!  Serve with crusty bread, a nice greens salad and Irish Beer!  Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love!

Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to

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Chef Glenn
Glenn started his culinary career at the tender age of 14 in Baltimore, Maryland and was nourished by his Grandmothers love of cooking. Glenn trained at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Graduated with honors at Baltimore International Culinary College. Glenn's thirst for use of local and indigenous foods go back to his early years being raised near the Chesapeake Bay Region of Maryland. Throughout history, Food is a part of life, celebrations, fellowship and community and even in one's passing. Food is LIFE! Food is LOVE!