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what kind of lamb for Shepherd's Pie?

  • c
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Every year I make Shepherd's Pie for St Patricks Day, but I always made it the American way with chop meat. This year I want to use lamb, so what's the right cut? Chop meat or more like stew? I got the rest of the recipe down perfectly, so of course I have to try something different!

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  1. I don't think there is a more "authentic" cut because the dish probably arose as a way to mince up leftover bits of lamb roast, though there are those who prefer to use raw lamb nowadays. Loin (whence the chops) and leg are fairly lean cuts, while shoulder is less so. Shoulder would work well if it's given time to get tender, and would probably have more flavor and succulence (but lamb-haters might not like that).

    1. Like Karl said, many lamb cuts would do, and tougher braise-worthy cuts would produce delicious results, but if you've made this receipe before an the only thing you plan to change is the animal the meat comes from, I suggest matching the style of meat as closely as possible. Most Beef Shepherd's Pie recipes I've made start with 80% lean ground chuck- ground lamb shoulder will yield similar consistancy. (leaner meat would come from the leg, the leanest meat would come from the loin).

      I heartily encourage you to experiment with lamb cuts, cooking them down then finding ways to adapt your tried and true recipe to the longer, slower cooking time.

      Happy St. Patty's Day!

      1. I would use either leftover leg of lamb or braised shoulder. Seems to reason that if it is Shepard's Pie it is lamb. Sheperds tend sheep not cattle. If you use beef, pork or anything else it is not Shepard's pie.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          It would be Cottage Pie....

          1. re: Candy

            I've always considered it a vehicle for using up leftover mashed potatoes myself. As I said, an "Americanized" version; most people don't know what it is and think it's delicious. Now I'll try to step it up a little.

          2. Thanks everyone, I'll try to find lamb shoulder (just made carnitas with pork shoulder so this could be a trend for me!) If desparate, I'll go to a butcher, but thought it might be more economical, and interesting, to do it myself. I was in one ethnic market today and they didn't have ANY lamb at all, so I'm keeping my eyes open.

            1. I just made a Lamb Shepherd's Pie for our oscar party on Sunday. I bought lamb shoulder chops and cut the meat off the bones, and diced into bite-sized pieces. I cooked the filling the day before....the flavor was phenomenal. My family is begging me to make it again!!

              If you want the recipe I used, let me know.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wyf4lyf

                Good idea, I'll look for bone-in if I have to.
                I love to check out other recipes, post it and I'll post mine later when I go downstairs. Thanks