A Trip to the Lovely Land of Leprechauns, Limericks and ………….. Shepherds Pie!

Since The Café is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this week with Irish recipes, I thought it would be fun to take a little tour of the land which has inspired all these delightful dishes and I knew just the person to help me………..

….. my daughter-in-law Lindsay……….

Two summers ago, Nick and I had the incredible opportunity to backpack through Europe for over a month. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and we had the time of our lives. Our last stop was Ireland and it ended up being one of our favorite places! We started out in Dublin and then drove cross country (all of four hours) to the Dingle Peninsula. We instantly knew why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. We loved everything about this small country from the landscape to the food. The people were some of the friendliest people that we met and were happy and willing to help us any way they could. At night we would go to the local pub for some dinner and a “proper pint” and listen to the pub music. The music was the event of the night and we loved pretending to be locals. 

When we returned home, I quickly started looking for recipes that reminded me of our trip. I came across this recipe for shepherd’s pie and while I am not sure how authentic it is, it is delicious! I know it may not look like much, but what it lacks in apperance it certainly makes up for in taste. This is the ideal comfort food in my opinion and a wonderful way to remember our time on the Emerald Isle. ~ Lindsay

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients for the potatoes:
1 lb yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Ingredients for the meat filling:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef, turkey or lamb
1 heaping tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken or beef stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary
1 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen English peas


1. Peel the potatoes and cut into a large dice. Cook in a medium pot of boiling water for 10- 15 minutes or until tender and easily crushed. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to pot. Add in milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Check for seasonings and then add yolk and stir until well combined.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the carrots and onions and saute until the begin to soften and start to take color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir to coat, cook for another minute. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to low, cover and simmer lightly 10-12 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

4. Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and check the seasonings adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Spread the mixture into a 11×7 baking dish or pie plate. Top with the mashed potatoes. Create a seal around the edges using a rubber spatula to prevent the mixture from bubbling over.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Alton Brown

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