Nothing warms the heart on St. Patrick’s Day more than the mashed potato-topped casserole known as Shepherd’s Pie. In a land where sheep were traditionally a primary food supply, it’s not surprising that lamb is the foundation for many Irish farmhouse dishes, especially this long-time favorite originally created as an economical way to use leftover lamb. If you’re headed out to a parade, this make-ahead meat and vegetable pie, topped with a crust of mashed potatoes flavored with Kerrygold Cheddar or Dubliner cheese, is a perfect way to celebrate. You’ll find this and many more exciting recipes in my new cookbook Delicious Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit


Serves 6

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 pounds ground lamb

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 carrots, diced

2 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Ground black pepper

3 cups mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Working in batches, cook the lamb for 5 to 7 minutes per batch, or until all the meat is browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large bowl; discard the fat.
  2. Melt the butter in the same skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and flour; then stir in the broth, thyme, and parsley, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the lamb.
  3. Reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8- or 9-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. In a medium bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes and half the cheese. Decoratively spread or pipe over the meat mixture; sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the mixture is bubbling. Serve immediately.


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