Whether you're looking for the perfect St. Patty's Day Recipe, or just an awesome hearty dinner, this Irish Shepherd's Pie recipe gives you an awesome bite from the Emerald Isle. An awesome recipe that's the perfect bite of meat, potatoes and yummy veggies!
So, confession time.
I hadn't tried shepherd's pie until a few years' back when Costco started rolling them out in their ready to eat section. I was skeptical, my wife talked me into getting one and - as usual - she was right. What a magical bit of meat and potatoey goodness our Irish friends have created! I had to have them all!
So, as I've traveled for work, I've sampled many a shepherd's pie at many an Irish pub (and maybe drank an Irish beer or two along the way). And while I'm yet to step foot onto the Emerald Isle itself (bucket list, please!), I've tried enough of these delight's to come home and give it a go from scratch. And boy-oh-boy did it turn out great! Let's dig in!
What is Irish Shepherd's Pie?
At it's core, Irish Shepherd's pie is a layered casserole-style meat and cheese dish. Minced beef is mixed with traditional veggies to form a great base, all while topped with perfectly fluffy mashed potatoes. So, to pull this off, you really need to make two good components to make one great bite!
Why I love Irish Shepherd's Pie
By using our recipe for the best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, infused with garlic and rosemary, we truly deliver a ton of flavor in every single bite. From fluffy potato puree on top to wonderful meatiness on bottom, this is the best St. Patrick's Day recipe - or any day!
When to make Irish Shepherd's Pie
Well, the obvious answer here is March 17, Saint Patrick's Day! Celebrate Irish cuisine with one of the best irish dishes. But, there's no reason you can't have it any other night of the year. It cooks great for a crowd when entertaining family or friends, too!
Irish Shepherd's Pie Tips and Tricks
- Like I said, we go with our favorite Instant Pot recipe for mashed potatoes, but if you are sans Instant Pot you can simply peel, quater and boil the potatoes until fork tender. You'll still want to pass them through a ricer, season the cream and whip them as the recipe below states, though.
- This recipe calls for the one-pan cast iron approach. However, if you don't have a cast iron, you can easily prepare the meat mix in a skillet and transfer it into a casserole dish (covered with potatoes, potatoes of course) and cook it that way, too.
- The traditional recipe here calls for lamb, but you can definitely sub beef if you wish. I went with a pound of each, which was enough to feed about 8 people in a large cast iron pan .
Let's Make Irish Shepherd's Pie: Mashed Potato Topping
To get started, you need to make some great mashed potatoes. We recommend our recipe for The Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes:
Begin by peeling your potatoes. Then, cut each potato into ½ inch pieces. I do this by halving the potato lengthwise, then laying it down flat on the cutting board. I cut the potato into ½ inch half moons, then cut those crosswise into ½ in pieces. This gets me a pretty uniform cut, which is important. If you're pieces are too varied in size, some will overcook while some with undercook, which won't give you the mashed potatoes you're looking for.
Pour one cup of water into instant pot . Place trivet on top and cover with aluminium foil. I cut a couple slivers in the foil to allow any condensation to drop down, keeping my potatoes dry. Then, place your potatoes on top of the aluminium foil. This will keep them from boiling away in the water, which will turn them to icky much (gross!).
Close the lid and set the valve to "sealing". Set the Instant Pot to Manual->High pressure and set timer for 12 minutes.
Now, this is where we make our flavor happen. Pour half-and-half in a medium sauce pot, and bring up to medium-high heat. While cream is heating, add two sprigs of rosemary to pot. Next, lightly crush garlic cloves and add to pot. Then, add kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little smoked paprika.
Bring sauce to a boil and allow to reduce by about ⅓, then reduce heat to medium-low. This should bring your sauce to a light simmer. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced from half, then turn off heat and let rest.
Meanwhile, chop scallions into small, ¼ in pieces. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in along with diced scallions. Saute for about 4-5 minutes, until scallions have softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the instant pot is finished, turn the vent and release the steam (careful, it comes out hot!). When the steam has released and the pressure knob goes down, remove the lid. Check the potatoes, they should be fork tender. Spoon the potatoes into your potato ricer and press through into a large mixing bowl . The result will give you some nice, light, fluffy strands of potatoes.
When your potatoes are riced, grab a mesh strainer and hold it over the bowl. Pour your cream through the strainer, catching the rosemary and garlic cloves on the way through. If your garlic is tender enough, push it with a spatula (or back of a spoon), to get every last bit into the potatoes. Next, add the sauteed scallions to the bowl.
Using a flat spatula, mix the potatoes, cream and scallions well. Whip them really good, making sure to get all the potatoes from the bottom of the bowl. A quick, strong whip will help to get some air into the potatoes as well, increasing the fluffiness. Next, add knobs of butter and mix until fully melted and spread in. The resulting consistency should just be creamy enough then it gently slides off the spatula when you pick it up
We'll add one additional step for our shepherd's pie: add one egg white and whip well into potatoes. This is optional, but it will help the potatoes give you a nice golden finish.
Let's Make Irish Shepherd's Pie: Meat and Veggie Filling!
Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add oil to pan and allow to get hot. I prefer a high heat oil like Avocado. Olive oil will smoke out your kitchen when used on cast iron. Add your ground meat (beef, lamb, or in my case, a pound of each) to the pan season with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt. Break the meat up with a spatula until only fine pieces remain. Cook until brown and remove meat from pan.
Add chopped onions, celery and shredded carrots to pan. Season lightly salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Sweat until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic to pan and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, stirring so that the garlic doesn't brown.
Add meat back to pan and toss with veggies, mixing together well. Sprinkle flour over the meat and stir so meat and veggie mix is well covered. Cook for 30 seconds or so until flour has browned. Add tomato sauce and stir in well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add wine to pan and cook for a minute, continuing to stir.
Add beef stock, worcestershire sauce and diced rosemary to meat mixture and stir in well. Simmer mixture until reduced to a thick sauce, about 12-15 minutes. Add frozen peas to mixture and stir in well. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425°.
Let's Make Irish Shepherd's Pie: Top and Bake
After meat has rested for about five minutes, spread it evenly throughout the pan. Spoon in mashed potatoes and gently spread over the top using a spatula. Spread it evenly and to the edges of the pan. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Place in the center of your oven, preheated at 425°. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the top of the potatoes have turned a light golden brown.
This recipe was inspired by Laura Vitale's recipe for Shepherd's Pie, which comes with a handy video to walk you through the process as well.
What to serve with Irish Shepherd's Pie
This is a pretty hearty meal and can easily stand on its own. That said, a side salad or light brothy soup (on a cold day) could go well with it.Print
Whether you're looking for the perfect St. Patty's Day Recipe, or just an awesome hearty dinner, this Irish Sherpherd's Pie recipe gives you an awesome bite from the Emerald Isle. An awesome recipe that's the perfect bite of meat, potatoes and yummy veggies!
Mashed Potato Topping
- 2 lb russet potatoes
- 4 scallions (diced)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 garlic cloves (lightly crushed)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3 tbsp cold butter
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- smoked paprika
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup water
- 2 lbs ground beef or lamb (or a mix of each)
- 1 cup yellow onion (diced)
- 1 cup celery (diced)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ oz frozen peas
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp worcestershire
- 2 cloves garlic (diced)
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- olive oil (for garnish)
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Peel potatoes.
- Cut potatoes into ½ inch pieces by cutting potatoes lengthwise then laying down flat and cutting into ½ inch half circles. Make sure to keep the pieces as uniform as possible for even cookng.
- Pour one cup of water into Instant Pot . Place trivet in and cover with aluminum foil. Cut a couple slivers in your foil to allow condensation to drop down.
- Place potatoes on top of foil covered trivet .
- Close the lid and set valve to "sealing". Set Instant Pot to high pressure and set timer for 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pout half-and-half in a imedium sauce pot and bring up to medium-high heat. While cream is heating, add two sprigs of rosemary and lightly crushed garlic cloves to pot. Add kosher salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
- Allow sauce to reduce by about ⅓, then reduce to medium low. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced by half, then remove from heat and let rest.
- Now, chop scallings into small, ¼ inch slices. Heat a small pan over medium high heat. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in the pan and add scallions. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until scallions have softenened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When instant pot is finished, turn the vent and allow steam to release (careful, the steam is hot!). When steam is release and pressure knob goes down, remove teh lid. Check the potatoes, they should be fork tender. Spoon the potatoes into your potato ricer and press through into a large mixing bowl .
- When your potatoes are riced, grab a mesh strainer . Pour your cream through the strainer. If your garlic is tender enough, use the back of a spoon to press it through and into the bowl.
- Add sauteed scallions to bowl.
- Using a flat spatula, mix the potatoes, cream and scallions well. Lift as you whisk briskly, getting air into the potatoes to increase their fluffiness. Next, add knobs of cold butter and egg white to bowl. Continue to mix until fully melted and spread in. The resulting consistency should be just creamy enough that it gently slides off the back of a spoon when you pick it up.
- Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and allow to get hot.
- Add ground meat to pan and season with salt and pepper. Break meat up with a spatula into fine pieces. Cook until brown and remove meat from pan.
- Add chopped onions, celery and shredded carrots to pan. Season lightly with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Sweat until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic to pan and cook for 30 seconds while stirring.
- add meat back to pan and toss with veggies. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir so meat and veggie mix is well covered. Cook for 30 seconds or so until flour has browned. Add tomato sauce and stir in well. Cook for two minutes to reduce sauce.
- Add wine to pan, scrapping up the fond (the bits that have cooked until the bottom of the pan).
- Add beef stock, worcestershire sauce and dice rosemary to meat mixture and stir well. Simmer mixture until reduce to a thick sauce, about 12-15 minutes. Add frozen pieces and stir in well, removing from heat.
- While mix rests, preheat your oven to 425°.
- After meat has rested for about five minutes, spread it evenly through teh pan. Spoon mashed potatoes over and gently spread over the top using a spatula or spoon. Spread it evenly and to the edges of the pan. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place in center of oven and cook at 425° for 16 minutes, or until potatoes have turned a light golden brown.
- Remove Shepherd's Pie from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Irish
- Carbohydrates: 0
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 0
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: Irish Recipe, Shepherd's Pie, St. Patrick's Day