St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate this Irish holiday than with a hearty Shepherd’s Pie? It’s a warm and comforting meat and potatoes sort-of-affair whose beauty shines best through its simplicity. Fluffy, buttery potatoes finished with a golden brown crust and layered on top of sautéed vegetables and lamb, what more could you ask for in a traditional Irish meal? Before this dish was known as Shepherd’s Pie, it was also known as Cottage Pie, named for its affordability among the poor Irish class who lived in modest dwellings, often cottages. These days, anyone can enjoy this recipe whether in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day or for a rustic, delicious winter main course.
One of the first things that come to mind when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day food are potatoes. These spuds, whether large or small, red or yellow, mealy or soft are one of the most versatile ingredients you can use in the kitchen. For this particular recipe,we prefer the size and flavor of the popular Russet potato. Favored for their largeness and high starch content, Russet potatoes are one of the most common varieties found in grocery stores. Excellent for mashing, baking and frying they become soft, light and fluffy once cooked. However, you could also use Yukon Gold Potatoes or Dutch Yellow® Potatoes for this recipe if you prefer your potatoes a little sweeter and more buttery.
Yields: 8 servings
For the potato topping
- 2 pounds of Organic Russet Potatoes, Dutch Yellow® Potatoes or Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
For the meat filling
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of ground lamb
- 2 organic carrots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of ketchup
- 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- Fresh organic parsley, for garnish
1. Start by cooking the potatoes. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and then bring to a boil. When the potatoes have started to boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes. With a fork or a masher, mash the potatoes together with the milk, egg yolk, unsalted butter, salt and pepper until the mixture is smooth.
3. While the potatoes have been cooking, prepare the meat and vegetable layer. In a large pan, sauté the carrots, onions and garlic for about 4 minutes until the onions have softened.
4. Add the ground lamb, salt and pepper to the vegetables and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the flour, ketchup, thyme, rosemary, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Then add the chicken broth and stir in until the mixture is combined. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 1 and 1/2 quart baking dish, spread the meat mixture onto the bottom. Then, spread the mashed potato mixture evenly on top of the meat. Use a fork to create lines and crosshatches.
6. Bake the Shepherd’s Pie for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops of the mashed potatoes are golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the top with a generous layer of paprika. When ready to serve, you may garnish each slice with parsley.
How do you like to celebrate the Irish holiday? What are your favorite things to eat on St. Patrick’s Day?