Not So Boring Shepherd’s Pie

Everyone’s heard the rumors, right? That British food is bland, boring food. I love lamb, though, and I have become slightly obsessed with the show the Great British Baking Show, so I wanted to take a stab at Shepherd’s Pie – especially in order to have leftovers. Many people will suggest substituting ground beef for the lamb, but DON’T. Then you really will have a bland dish, as lamb imparts such flavor to the dish. Given the gamey-ness of the lamb, though, I’ve added a bit of heat to break through that. I’ve also added a bit of cheese to the mashed potatoes for a bit extra oomph (and hello, I need cheese in everything). This dish is wicked easy (and relatively quick) to make, so it could definitely be a weeknight meal or a LARGE make-ahead dish you make on the weekend for the upcoming week.

TIMING: 1 1/2 – 2 hours



For Potatoes:

  • 4-5 russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I also suggest adding some herb goat cheese, because often the cheddar cheese doesn’t come through enough)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

For Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground lamb
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves
  • 3 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup frozen English peas


Start with the filling. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is pretty hot, add the onions and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes until they start to color a bit. Add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the lamb, salt, pepper, cayenne. Cook until browned (you want some color on this, so no gray meat allowed) and most of the fat has evaporated. Sprinkle the meat with the flour, tossing to coat, and cook for another minute or two, until the flour has cooked out entirely. Add the tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes, until thickened. Taste and make sure your seasoning is right.

Now cook the potatoes. Peel and cut the potatoes into small 1/2 inch sized pieces. Place in a shallow pot/pan and cover with cold water and a handful of salt. Bring up to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until a fork pierces through the potatoes easily, and they crumble. Drain. Heat the heavy cream and butter in the microwave just until the butter melts. In a mixer/ricer, break up the potatoes. Add the heavy cream-butter mixture, sour cream and seasoning. Add the cheese and taste. You’ll probably need a lot more salt/seasoning than you anticipate. Once you are satisfied with the flavor, add the egg yolk and mix to combine.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the lamb mixture to a 11×7 glass baking dish. Starting on the edges of the pan, add the mashed potatoes in small portions to seal the edges before filling in the middle. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook until the mashed potatoes on top are nice and brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


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