Irish Shepherd's Pie
Use either ground beef or part lamb in this favorite dish of Irish pubs.
- For the potatoes:
- 1½ lbs. russet potatoes
- ¼ cup half-and-half
- 2 oz. unsalted butter
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- For the meat filing:
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ pounds ground beef (or part lamb)
- 1 tsp.. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. each freshly chopped rosemary leaves and thyme (I preferred to sub just ½ tsp. Herbs de Provence for rosemary and thyme)
- ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
- Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, and cook until tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain potatoes in colander and return to saucepan. Mash potatoes and then add half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the oil into 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Add onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir to combine.
- Add meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle meat with flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, (or herbs de Provence instead of fresh thyme and rosemary) and stir to combine. (The amount of herbs depends on your taste; my preference is for smaller amounts.) Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10-12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
- Add corn and peas to meat mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. (I used a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.) Top with mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on parchment-lined, half-sheet pan on middle rack of oven and bake 25 minutes or till potatoes begin to brown. But under broiler toward last to hasten browning. Remove to cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.