Irish Shepherd's Pie Recipe -
Irish Shepherd's Pie Recipe
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Irish Shepherd’s Pie
See how to make an amazing shepherd’s pie with a special Irish twist. See more

Irish Shepherd's Pie

Recipe by  

"This makes a lovely alternative to the much more common corned beef and cabbage that you may have been planning for St. Patrick's Day dinner."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 9x13-inch casserole Change Servings
  • PREP

    25 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 10 mins

    1 hr 35 mins


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place olive oil and butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and ground lamb; brown the meat, breaking it up into small crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour until incorporated, then mix in salt, black pepper, rosemary, paprika, cinnamon, ketchup, and garlic; cook and stir until garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring mixture to a simmer; cook and stir until thick, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Remove lamb mixture from heat and stir in peas and carrots until combined.
  6. Spread lamb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  7. Place potatoes into a large pan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return potatoes to pan.
  8. Mash butter, cayenne pepper, cream cheese, and Irish cheese into the potatoes. Mash until combined and potatoes are smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  9. Whisk together egg yolk and milk in a small bowl; stir into the mashed potato mixture.
  10. Top the lamb mixture in the baking dish with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly to cover.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling up around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 12, 2012

O I made this tonight with some provisions using hamburger, beef broth and green beans and carrots because i did not have lamb or peas.Used the directions and all other ingredients. It was fabulous and I deal with a 14 yr old critic who asked for seconds, this alone immediately put this into my favorites recipe box. Thanks John, I enjoy your light hearted humor while cooking, thank you for the flavor of food

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 22, 2012

ugh! way too greasy for my family. I would drain the meat before adding the flour next time. My family doesn't appreciate intense flavors, so I will cut down on all the spices and use a more mild cheddar in the potatoes.

Mar 16, 2012

I made this last night also using ground beef and it received rave reviews at dinner. I did use beef broth for the liquid since I had to use ground beef. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which is unusual for me. Also, hubby, adult son, and teenage daughter ate it happily-no complaints from anyone! Hurray!! Chef John, I enjoyed watching you prepare it, that helps me when I am trying something for the first time.

Mar 16, 2012

Omg de-lish. Eyeballed ingredents (as we irish do) and it came out perfect. Dubliner cheese works really well w the potatoes. Perfect alternative for those who dont like corned beef.

Feb 10, 2013

I've never had a cottage pie that I liked, they're always too bland, but made this one tonight on a whim, just because CJ hardly ever disappoints. I used ground beef and mixed veg, omitting rosemary and cinnamon, as they seemed more suited to lamb than beef. After tasting the beef mix, I wanted to boost the beefy flavor, so added 2 teaspoons beef base. Perfect flavor! I was worried that the beef mix was too thick, but after baking it was just right. I might add more cheese to the potatoes next time, or even toss some in with the beef. The bones of this recipe are great, producing a perfect pie that holds together but isn't dry at all. It could be easily adapted to other cuisines, using Mexican spices and topping with cornbread, or using soy sauce, Hoisin sauce and wasabi mashed potatoes for Asian flair. Finally, a really, really good gluten-free casserole! Thanks, Chef. And thanks for a new trick to remove oil from ground meat. I'll never try to drain hot oil again!

Mar 20, 2012

Excellent! This is truly the traditional shepherds pie. As the video on this states…Shepherds raised sheep not cow, hence the use of lamb and not beef and the name "Shepherds Pie”. I made this exactly as written and it was delicious. I did make a mushroom gravy to go on top. A great one dish meal; for a crowd, or dinner for two with plenty of leftovers!

Mar 16, 2012

I had to use ground cow meat (not lamb, cowboy pie? Ha!) But it was delicious any way. Perfect recipe, and Chef John is amaizing, great teacher and makes cooking and enjoyable experience. Sorry for my poor English!.

Mar 17, 2014

This recipe is wonderful.   I have no idea how anyone could call it bland - it is a delightful blend of amazing flavors. Everyone absolutely loved it!   I changed nothing except I had to substitute half a green pepper for half of the onion because I discovered that I only had half an onion in my fridge.  I think it's probably important to be patient when cooking the ground lamb to allow the liquid to evaporate (see the video). The potato topping was to die for - the Dubliner cheese (as opposed to a regular cheddar) added an amazing distinctive flavor.   If you use another meat and a different cheese, it's probably still really good,  but those changes would turn this recipe into something else completely.


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  • Calories
  • 413 kcal
  • 21%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 29.8 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 106 mg
  • 35%
  • Fat
  • 22.6 g
  • 35%
  • Fiber
  • 3.4 g
  • 14%
  • Protein
  • 23.3 g
  • 47%
  • Sodium
  • 287 mg
  • 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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