This is the best shepherd’s pie recipe I’ve ever made! With ground lamb, tender vegetables and a creamy mashed potato topping, it’s a hearty meal for a cold day.
A lot of the Shepherd’s pie recipes you can find on the Internet are made with ground beef, so technically, they should be called Cottage Pie. After all, how many shepherds do you know that watch over a flock of cows?
As it is, this classic casserole is comfort food at its best. It’s a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftover mashed potatoes, too! This shepherds pie recipe is simply yummi, and one of my very favorite Sunday dinners, because it can be eaten all week long. It freezes and reheats well, too!
I hope you enjoy this shepherds pie recipe!
Best Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup whole milk, warmed
- 2 large egg yolks
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Ground black pepper
FOR THE TOPPING:
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once the boiling reduces to a simmer, cook until the potatoes are tender and a fork inserted into the center meets little resistance, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes well and return them to the saucepan over low heat. Mash the potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher. Fold in the butter until melted, then stir in the warm milk and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and set aside while preparing the filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
- Meanwhile, cook the lamb in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and the fat has rendered, about 3 minutes. Drain the lamb through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.
- Heat the 1 tablespoon reserved lamb fat in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Slowly stir in the broth, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce, scrape up the browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Off the heat, stir in the drained lamb and peas, season with salt and pepper to taste, and smooth the filling into an even layer. Dollop the potato topping evenly over the filling, then spread it into an even layer, covering the filling completely and anchoring the potatoes to the sides of the skillet. Bake the pie until the top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving.