Delicious and comforting, this grain-free Rustic Irish Shepherd’s Pie will have you wishing you made a double batch!
An Irish Conundrum
I have quite a bit of Irish blood in me. That being said, the most Irish my cooking usually gets is a pot of colcannon. And my favorite “St. Patty’s Day” foods are sadly lacking in the cultural area (i.e. they pretty much just include anything with mint in it—like this Mocha Mint Shake, or my Homemade Mint Ice Cream).
My grandpa would probably be disappointed.
So this year I thought I’d branch out and try something a little more traditional. How ’bout corned beef and cabbage? But as I perused the vast reaches of Irish cooking on the Internet I noticed two things: 1) corned beef isn’t really all that Irish, and 2) an excessive amount of Irish recipes contain alcohol.
Enter Shepherd’s Pie.
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t keep Guinnesses (Guinnies? I don’t even know how to say that!) or whisky hanging around, so all of those recipes immediately went out the window. Then I noticed shepherd’s pie in the list.
I’ve made shepherd’s pie quite a few times, but I never knew it was Irish. Granted, the Irish version called for a few tweaks on my regular recipe, but they were ones that I’m glad to make.
I’ve always made shepherd’s pie with ground beef or venison, but lamb is the traditional meat used (’cause shepherds don’t tend cattle, ya know…). I also don’t usually add thyme to things, but I found it adds a nice earthy flavor to the dish.
Comfort Food At Its Best
I knew this version was a keeper based on my family’s reaction to seeing it on the table. I take that back, I knew it was a keeper based on my family’s reaction to the wonderful aromas permeating the house as I prepared it! My son couldn’t wait to dig in! It was a little difficult to get these pictures with him hanging around… 🙂
A few notes, before you get started:
- If you’re not a fan of lamb you can use ground beef or venison, if that floats your boat.
- You don’t have to brush the top with egg if you’re egg-free—it just makes a nice crust.
- A cast iron skillet is not necessary for this recipe. I like things as one-pot as possible, but you can totally make up the filling and then transfer it to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Remember that when it comes to food it’s always better to have more than not enough (because leftovers are amazing) so don’t skimp on the potatoes! Make a big ol’ pot!
Also please note that the recipe might sound a little complicated, but it’s really not. It’s basically a pot of mashed potatoes baked over a stew. You can handle it, I know it!
Rustic Irish Shepherd’s Pie
- 6 medium-sized Russet or Yukon potatoes chopped (peeling them is not necessary)
- 1/2 cup milk or stock for dairy-free
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 clove garlic minced (more or less to taste)
- 1 onion diced
- 4 large carrots diced
- 1 pound ground lamb or beef or venison
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 cups stock lamb, beef, chicken, or veggie
- 1 egg beaten
- In large pot, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until fork-tender. Mash with the milk or stock and salt, and set aside.
- While the potatoes are boiling, preheat oven to 400°.
- In 12-inch cast iron skillet, sauté carrots in coconut oil until tender. Add in onions and garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add in meat and season with pepper and thyme. Cook until the meat is browned, then add in the peas.
- Sprinkle the stew mixture with arrowroot powder and stir to combine. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid is reduced to a thick meaty gravy, stirring regularly. Season with salt.
- Remove skillet from heat and spoon mashed potatoes over the stew mixture, spreading as you go. When completely covered, smooth out and brush with beaten egg.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until potato topping is golden-browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
FYI: It’s a good idea to place a cookie sheet on the rack under your pie, just in case the stew bubbles over the edges! Not that I speak from experience or anything… 😉