Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potatoes

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream ( you can also use unflavored almond milk – any kind you like will do)
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 eggyolk


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound lean ground mutton or ground lamb or ground beef*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½  cup dry red wine or guinness bear or broth
  • ¾  cup chicken broth1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½  tsp Cayenne pepper
  • ½  tsp Paprica
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots or fresh carrots cubed
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Garnish: Fresh chives or parsley, minced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius degrees).

Boil potatoes:
Add the peeled potatoes to a medium pot, fill with water. Turn the heat on high and allow the water to come to a boil, without the lid, reduce to a simmer. Allow the potatoes to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes from the water and place them back into the now empty pot that the potatoes were cooked in. Allow them to cool a little.

Brown the beef:
Heat a large, oven safe skillet over medium heat. Heat up the oil. Add the onion, allow it to cook until the onion is tender. Add the ground beef or lamb and break the beef up into small pieces, add salt and pepper and cook until the beef has mostly browned. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Add the rest of the spices. Add the flour over the filling and stir. Add the broth and wine or bear if you use wine or bear. If not add broth instead. Add the carrots and cook until the carrots are tender (if using fresh carrots). Add the corn.

Mash the potatoes:
Returning to the boiled potatoes. Add the butter, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper, mash until mostly smooth and the butter is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in the egg and set aside. If the potatoes seem a little dry than add a splash or two more of milk.

Prepare the Irish Shepherds Pie for the oven:
Pour the filling in a greased oven proof dish. Top with the green peas evenly all over the pie. Top with mashed potatoes: Spread the filling out evenly and spoon the mashed potatoes over top of the filling. Use a spatula to spread out the potatoes evenly over the filling. Make a nice pattern with a fork.

Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the mashed potatoes have browned slightly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Serve: If you like garnish the top of the Shepherd’s pie with chopped parsley or chives. Spoon onto plates and serve. It is traditionally served with Irish Soda Bread.
*Traditionally Shepherd’s pie is made using ground lamb or mutton but if you live in an area where lamb is hard to come by ground beef works great. However, it is technically called a cottage pie if you use ground beef.

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