Lucky Irish Shepherd's Pie
Lucky Irish Shepherd's Pie
St. Patrick's Day isn't the only day you'll want to have some of this wonderful Shepherd's pie! It's cozy and comforting anytime of year. This recipe makes a very large and filling casserole so serve it to a crowd or have some plans for the leftovers. I planned to make Irish Lamb Hand Pies with what was left of this large casserole. The hand pies turned out spectacular. The lamb stew and the mashed potato topping is wonderful inside a crispy flaky crust.
We are lucky to live in an area where we can buy local lamb from ranchers. It's truly amazing how much more economical it is to buy lamb this way and we know the source. This is most definitely a win win! The locally sourced lamb I buy is flavorful but not gamey in any way. We really enjoy it.
You can,of course, make this tasty Shepherd's pie with beef or even goat if you like and although not traditional I'm sure it will still be great!
I start off with a good sized leg of lamb and cube the meat to about 1 1/2 inches. I season it liberally with salt and pepper then sear it quickly in a very hot dutch oven on the stove top.
I want to create a nice brown glaze on the bottom of my pan and on the outside edges of the meat. This caramelizing creates so much flavor! The brown bits in the pan will deglaze when I add the stock and all of the yummy goodness will season the stew.
Click on the pictures for more details.
After searing the cubes of lamb I add in the chopped onion, the herbs and some stock. I like to use chicken stock with lamb and goat but I'd probably use beef stock if I were using beef for this recipe.
Bring all of this to a boil and then put the lid on and turn it down to a temperature that allows the pot to remain at a full simmer. Not exactly boiling but bubbling like in the picture below.
After 90 minutes check to see how the meat is coming along. It should be starting to become tender by now and you can add the diced vegetables. Add some water if it's drying out.
First I add the potatoes and stir them in.
Then I add the chopped carrot and celery, stir that in and bring the pot back to a full simmer. Leave the pot to simmer for about 40 minutes more while you make the mashed potatoes for the topping.
Peel and chop 6 russet potatoes into roughly 1 1/2 inch pieces and add them to a pot with just enough hot water to cover them. Bring the pot to a boil for about 12-15 minutes or until they pierce very easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes and add half a stick of butter and 1- 1/2 cups milk. Add more butter or milk to get the consistency you like. The potatoes need to be spreadable but also hold their shape when you create peaks with a fork. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
When the vegetables in the lamb stew have become soft, assemble the Shepherd's Pie.
First lay down a layer of the stew in the bottom of a heavy 13 x 9 casserole dish.
Next add spoonfuls of mashed potatoes across the top of the casserole.
Spread the spoonfuls about on top of the casserole decoratively with a fork to form the peaks that will crisp and brown as the Shepherd's Pie bakes.You can broil the top for a few minutes as the casserole finishes baking if you want more crispy color.
Bake the casserole uncovered for about 40 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top is lightly browned at 350 degrees. Broil and watch closely for about 5 minutes more if you like.
Allow the shepherd's pie to cool 5 minutes before serving.
It's a lucky person indeed that get's to eat some of this Lucky Irish Shepherd's Pie.