In honor of Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to share with you a traditional recipe that I have added my own twist to. The Traditional Shepard’s Pie is made with lamb and not beef, as commonly seen in the United States. In its birth country, when the pie is made with beef, it’s called a Cottage Pie. Something to think about when making this dish.
1 lb. Potatoes (Any kind would do. Russets are the best)
1 lb. Ground Lamb (you can also use ground turkey for a healthier option)
1 pkg. Mixed Vegetables containing peas, carrots, and corn
1 Medium onion
1-2 cloves garlic
½ bottle of Guinness, Smithwicks, or any other dark ale/lager
Salt and Pepper
Grated Irish Cheddar Cheese (or regular cheddar cheese. This is optional)
1. Peel and cut potatoes into 1 inch cube. Put into boiling water seasoned with salt until fork tender. Mash the potatoes with salt and pepper as you normally would (either with sour cream, heavy cream, whole milk, butter, buttermilk, etc). Mash until smooth, I use a ricer to ensure smoothness and lightness.
2. Dice onion and set aside. Take garlic clove(s) and smash with flat side of the knife then chop. Set aside
3. In a large skillet, heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil. When heated through, add ground lamb and let brown, breaking clumps up. Before it all turns brown, add onion and garlic and mixed and brown fully. The onions will start to caramelize and turn translucent. Add salt and pepper.
4. Deglaze the pan with half a bottle of dark beer or lager, pouring slowly and little bits at a time. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet, getting all the dark and burnt bits.
5. Add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, a pinch of Garam Masala for a kick, and a sprinkle of Paprika.
6. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and mix in well to allow the mixture thicken. At this point you can taste the meat mixture to gauge spicing and seasoning. Once it’s to your taste, add the frozen vegetables and mix in. Let them heat together for up to 2 minutes.
7. Take a 9X13 pan and lightly spray it with cooking spray or some butter to grease. Place meat mixture in bottom layer and spread evenly. Top with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly as well. Create peaks and texture using a fork. Sprinkle some Paprika on top. Bake in oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. Then broil on high to brown the top further, for about 3- keep a close eye as the time may vary.
8. Let cool and set for a few minutes. Serve with a side of Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Butter, simple salad, and a pint.
*If you are planning on using the cheese, you can add a light layer in between the meat and potatoes and/or top the entire pie after assembly. This is an option that you can play with.