In a land where sheep were traditionally a primary food supply, it’s not surprising that lamb is the foundation for many farmhouse dishes. Shepherd’s Pie, a long-time favorite, was originally created as an economical way to use leftover lamb and was always a favorite with farmers. The recipe for this meat and vegetable pie, perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this week, is topped with a crust of mashed potatoes flavored with Kerrygold’s Cheddar or Dubliner cheese. To make Cottage Pie, use ground beef in place of the lamb.
Shepherd’s Pie with Cheddar Crust
For the filling
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tablespoon Kerrygold Irish butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 carrots, diced
2 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or canned low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the topping
3 cups mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter
1 cup shredded Kerrygold Cheddar or Dubliner cheese
1. Make filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Working in batches, cook lamb for 5 to 7 minutes per batch, or until all meat is browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a large bowl and reserve; discard fat.
2. Melt butter in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and carrots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and flour, and then stir in broth, thyme, and parsley, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Stir in lamb. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray; transfer filling to prepared pan.
4. Make topping. In a medium bowl, stir together mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup of cheese. Decoratively spread or pipe mashed potatoes over filling and sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is browned and mixture is bubbling. Serve immediately. Photo courtesy of Kerrygold.
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