Shepherd’s Pie

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Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and today, regardless of your ancestry, everyone is Irish. So what better way to celebrate the day with a bit of Irish comfort food. I first ate Shepherd’s pie in my elementary school cafeteria. There is was a bland plateful of unseasoned meat topped with instant potatoes. I wasn’t impressed and therefore avoided the dish for years. But then years later, sitting in an Irish pub in Boston, Massachusetts on Saint Patrick’s Day I tried it again and discovered what the dish is supposed to taste like. And I loved it.

This recipe from Epicurious features ground lamb, onions and carrots cooked in a rich broth. A layer of tender corn kernels are then topped with real mashed potatoes. The results are a satisfying and comforting dish that the entire family will love. If you will be pressed for time, you can assemble the dish ahead of time then pop it in the oven when you are ready to put dinner on the table. If it has been sitting in the refrigerator, let the dish come to room temperature before baking and increase the cooking time by ten minutes.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary

1 cup corn kernels

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

Paprika, for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Warm the oil in a large skillet, set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrot and lamb. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain off any fat and add the broth, tomato paste, parsley and rosemary to the skillet. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 additional minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
  • Top with the corn and set aside.
  • While the meat is cooking, bring the potatoes to a boil in a pot of salted water.
  • Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain.
  • Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk and salt.
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the meat and corn.
  • Sprinkle with the paprika.
  • Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

 

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