When I think of Shepherd’s Pie, I think of Sandy Thorpe. Growing up, I was so excited when she made oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips and Shepherd’s Pie:) Now, she made the classic american shepherd’s pie of ground beef, corn and mashed potatoes, which is a yummy combination of textures and flavors, but I thought I would attempt a more irish shepherd’s pie. The results were just as yummy. It was more like stew topped with creamy mashed potatoes. Kee in mind that this is a casserole, meaning it’s a lot of the same thing and in my opinion needs to be served with a small fresh side. I served it with a fresh spinach salad made with mandarin oranges, yellow onions, and almonds with a little olive oil and white balsamic vinegar as the dressing.
3/4 c. Lamb stew meat, cut off the bone into small cubes
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef (the ground meat was left over from my classic spaghetti and meatballs)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, peeled and sliced
2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced (cut in half lengthwise and run under water. There is often sand in between the layers)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
3 T. tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
1 t. thyme
kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled in pot for about 1o minutes or until tender
2 T. butter
1/4 cup milk
In a deep saucepan, brown all the meat until there is no pink to be seen, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat, by placing it on a few layers of paper towels. This helps eliminate some of the fat. In the same saucepan, cook onions, carrots, and celery for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and return the meat to the pan. Stir to combine. Add red wine and let it reduce by 1/2, stirring it occasionally. Add seasonings. Pour in the chicken broth so it is just covering the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, drain the boiled potatoes. Add butter, milk and salt and pepper. Whip the potatoes with a beater until the potatoes are creamy.
Once the stew-like mixture and mashed potatoes are complete, assemble the pie by placing the stew mixture into an 8 by 8 casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and spread to cover the stew mixture. Set the oven to broil and broil the shepherd’s pie for about 8 minutes or until it gets a crunchy toasted layer on top.