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Dec 23, 2008 07:25 AM

Shepherd's pie recipe?

Years ago my mother used to make shepherd's pie. We were thinking of having it again for christmas dinner, but nobody can remember where the recipe was from, and since my parents are moving in early Jan, most of the cookbooks are packed up. I think it may have been from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks... and I'm pretty sure it called for grated (cheddar?) cheese to be mixed in with the mashed potatoes... Anybody have any ideas, or a good recipe of your own?

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  1. I have been making this recipe for several years and it has great flavor. It is as good as some I have in great Irish pubs.

    13 Replies
    1. re: folprivate

      Looks great. So many recipes I've found ask for cream of mushroom soup and ketchup - yuck! Thanks!

      1. re: folprivate

        No corn? Is that a north American add in?

          1. re: KTinNYC

            The *only* veg to go into Shepherd's pie is corn! That's the way they made it for the school lunchroom when I was in grade school., and that's the I make it today. One of my few "comfort foods." The only modern take is I use real potatoes instead of instant.

            1. re: al b. darned

              "Modern" would be instant: real mashed is the only thing that is thick enough to top this recipe in my book (yes I tried instant once and there is no way it works). Now when I started making Shepherds Pie at my deli (actually Cottage Pie since we used chop meat) one of the owners said the same thing, had to be corn because that's how his mother made it. But plenty of customers told me it had to be peas. Since peas are green, they win ;-}. But Ihave a feeling that in Ireland, there are no extra vegetables added at all, just onion etc.

              1. re: al b. darned

                I had never heard of corn in Shepherd's Pie until I came to Canada, where it is an expected addition, usually made by mixing a can of creamed corn with the ground beef--sort of makes a creamy gravy. It's quite as bad as it sounds, but it isn't my favourite either.

                Cultural note: The French-Canadian translation is "pâté chinois" [Chinese Pâté] for some reason.

                1. re: zamorski

                  EDIT: "It's NOT quite as bad as it sounds, but it isn't my favourite either."

                2. re: al b. darned

                  If the grade school lunchroom is your measuring stick for good recipes than we differ greatly.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    This was one of the few lunchroom foods that I remember fondly. No, it's not gourmet, but like I said, it is comfort food. Actually I've never had SP with any veg but corn.

                    Actually, the food in our school wasn't all that bad back then. It wasn't as good as Mom's but usually edible.

            2. re: folprivate

              Sounds good and, with a big roast for Thurs, I'm sure we're going to be needing to use up leftovers.

              A pie made with beef, however, is called a Cottage Pie, I believe. A shepherd's pie should be made with lamb. Not too many shepherds herding cows you know. ;>

              1. re: folprivate

                Used this recipe, with buffalo instead of beef (it's what we had in the freezer), cheddar instead of parmesan, and a pinch of nutmeg added to the potatoes. Delicious - I'll be making this more often I'm sure.

                1. re: folprivate

                  Folprivate, I made your suggested recipe last night and it was dee-licious! Couldn't find fresh Crimini so used baby portabellas. They soaked up the flavours of the veggies, broth and herbs and gave them back when biting into them when served. I used extra lean beef (7% fat) so the additional moisture of the mushrooms took the dish to a higher level. Thanks for recommending this recipe, it is sure to stay in my winter rotation!

                  1. re: ideabaker

                    I am glad you enjoyed it as much as my family and neighbors.

                2. Paul Prudhomme's Cajun Shepherd's Pie is delicious. I've made it several times for large dinner parties, and it's always been a big hit. It's in his "Louisiana Kitchen" cookbook, and you can find it on the internet.


                  1. I was thinking of using this one from epicurious; anyone used it before?

                    1. This one is stupid-easy and my Aussie husband loves it. Pick your ground meat of choice (one or two pounds of beef or lamb). Brown it lightly, and add in a large chopped onion and a few chopped garlic cloves. Toss in a bag of mixed frozen veggies (I use carrots and peas, sometimes a little corn too). Add a jar of Boston Market Beef or Turkey Gravy if you can get it (this one tastes best, I won't use anything else) or find a high quality one you like. Mix in some worchestershire and a little red wine too. Top with premade mashed potatoes (the ones in the green packet in the fresh deli section). I use two packages for lots of taters. Nuke em til they're warm and mix in a little garlic and cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 until its hot and bubbly. While not high on the authenticity meter, it's super easy, got great flavor and my husband (and friends) love it.

                      1. I've got a similar recipe to the Food Network's in my collection (although it's a proper one with lamb, not beef), but I prefer to stick with its original intent, which was to use up leftovers, even if I'm starting more or less from scratch. I don't care to incorporate any tomato in any form; in my view, what I'm doing is packaging up a lamb and vegetable stew, with some of the gravy, under a blanket of mashed potato. Roasted lamb is a good place to start, with gravy made from defatted juices, some beef broth, and a browned butter-and-flour roux. Frozen peas are acceptable, but the carrot should be diced and cooked from fresh, and onion chopped and sautéed, whatever mushrooms you want sliced and sautéed as well. How much of everything is entirely up to you. There should be roughly as much chopped (not ground) meat as vegetable, the mixture should be moist but not soupy, and not more than four inches deep for even cooking. There should be enough potato to cover everything completely, half to three-quarters of an inch thick. For seasoning I would stick with roasting the lamb with rosemary and thyme, then seasoning the stew with salt, pepper, and either Worcestershire sauce or about a tablespoon of anchovy paste. If you just have to have some tomato in there, a small amount of ketchup is actually not a bad choice - tomato sauce is too thin, and I really hate tomato paste, so if you use it just please don't tell me ;-)