Monday, March 5, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Special: Irish Shepherd’s Pie (the real one, not the stuff they eat in cottages)

I know I may have used a few atypical ingredients in this, but as far as I’m concerned, the only two things that are mandatory to make a “real” Shepherd’s Pie are potatoes and lamb. While the ground beef version is also very delicious, it’s not considered a “Shepherd’s Pie,” since shepherds raise sheep, not cows.

The real mystery is why the beef version is called “Cottage Pie,” and not “Cowboy Pie,” or “Rancher’s Pie.” When I think about cattle, many things come to mind, but cottages aren’t one of them. Okay, now that we have all those search keywords inserted, we can moooo’ve on.

By the way, I know it’s something of a Food Wishes tradition that I do a cheap, culturally insensitive joke about Irish-Americans drinking too much in our St. Patrick’s Day video, but this year I decided not to do any. In fairness, I know hundreds of Irish people, and several of them have no drinking problem whatsoever, so it just didn’t seem inappropriate.

Anyway, as I say in the video, this would make a lovely alternative to the much more common corned beef and cabbage that you may have been planning for dinner. Also, I really hope you find some nice Irish cheddar. I used one called “Dubliner” by Kerrygold, which can be found in most large grocery stores.

If you’re curious about beverage pairings, may I go out on a limb and suggest a nice Guinness, or other Irish beer…just hold the green food coloring, please. Erin go bragh, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients:
For lamb mixture:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
2 pounds lean ground lamb
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp ketchup
2 1/2 cups water or broth (use more or less to adjust thickness as needed)
12 oz bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed, drained well

For the potato topping:
2 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 pound Irish cheddar
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp milk

62 comments:

Wendy said...

Thanks for the great shepherd's pie recipe. I believe they call it cottage pie because the poor people lived in cottages and not castles and could not afford lamb. LOL

Anyway you forgot peas and carrots in the ingredient list but I don't like peas anyway so I leave them out!

Lillian C.K. said...

Chef John,

I recently found your blog and have now clicked through pretty much your whole blog when I realized that you've been doing this for... YEARS. Wow, I'm so glad I found you, but it took me a good month or so to skim through all your blog posts! And so here is my first time commenting!

I was wondering if you can do some small clips on why you use the types of pans you use? Like, why did you choose to use the stainless steel pan vs. a cast iron, vs. a regular non-stick? (And does having a gas burner have anything to do with it? I personally have an electric burner.. sigh..)

Anyways, I really look forward to being a faithful follower to your food site!

Lillian C.K.

on of us said...

I second that notion!

Chris K. said...

Occasionally I get ground venison from my hunting friends (they always keep the tenderloins, for some reason). It makes an interesting substitute for lamb, although I guess you would have to call the dish "hunter's pie" or "Bambi pie" or something like that.

Guinness is always a solid choice. I prefer a nice porter for lamb dishes. Slainthe!

Paul Filmer said...

why not Cowboy or Rancher? We didn't/don't have either in the UK where the dish coms from

food said...

Shepherd's pie was the first dish I ever made on my own <3 needless to say this version looks much better, not just because of the awesome pattern you slavishly forked into the potato.
So I'm moving house soon and I use a gas burner, like you, at the moment but a lot of apartments now don't allow them.
Have you ever used an electric burner/induction hob? Could you survive with it? I don't know if I could.

Mary F said...

chef john. how many potatoes does it take to kill an irish man? none.

Anonymous said...

u use ketchup and flower in way too many recipes dude, which is like nearly all of them. get on the umami train

Janet McCord said...

Here's something I heard on "Coronation St." not that long ago so I suppose it's pretty close to being "authentic" from the UK: Shepherd's Pie should always be made with mashed potatoes to simulate the fluffy wool of the sheep. Cottage Pie is made with sliced potatoes, layered, to simulate the tiles on the roof of a cottage. The character, who was working in her son's cafe didn't specify about the meat. That's the latest I've heard from this side of the water.

Janet McCord said...

Oh, and one other thing, here they don't usually put peas or carrots in the shepherd's or cottage pie. It's usually "swede" (or "neeps" here in Scotland) which are turnips. Also leeks rather than onions. You're right though, they do like ketchup but here it's called "tomato sauce" or sometimes just "sauce". I'm not real sure the cayenne, cinnamon or paprika would be appreciated, although like you said, they do like to experiment and spicy foods aren't unheard of--they love their curry! But, oh my goodness! The differences in foods...

Tom U said...

Hello Chef John,

first time comment here, long time drooler...err commenter

Was thinking of making this same recipe for an upcoming St.Patrick's Day Parade Pre-Game at my place, I was just wondering to keep in the spirit of things could i just add beer when cooking the lamb? thank you for your help in advance.
-Tom

Chef John said...

Yes on the beer!

Food Junkie said...

Shouldn't you have used a flat edged spoon at the start of this video? :-)

eddy said...

nice

Monica said...

As an X Brit I have to tell you that cottage pie originated in Great Britain where they raise grass fed cattle,the name is derived from where it is MADE, in a cottage. Most English, Scottish and Welsh farmers lived in cottages on the farm. Cottages in the British isles were not like the cottages used in US Real Estate terms. Root vegetables were the stable crop of the "Cottage Garden" usually maintained by the farmers wife and she put into it what ever she had. In my family it was a leftover dish. Living now in Texas and with a hunter husband then the beef or lamb is replaced by venison. Since my ranchers here have sold off cattle due to the drought and replaced with goat there must be a goat version probably cabrito pie and with Doritos or tortillas on top!

nicolecitro said...

I'm part French, so I grew up on "Pâté Chinois" which is Shepards pie basically but ground meat is used, the veggie is creamed corn and it is layered not incorporated. I like how this recipe makes a gravy with the meat...I'm going to give this a try and see if I like how the Shepards do it!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I think they call it "Cottage Pie" because putting "cow" and "pie" in the name of something you're supposed to eat didn't seem like such a hot idea at the time.

My Irish husband thanks you for the recipe.

Austin said...

Potatoes are indigenous to the Americas, not 'America' (USA). I don't think they have many Irish police officers in Peru.

Pantalone said...

Yeah, I saw it too! The flat edged wooden spoon! Dum, Ta Dum Dum ...

Anthony Zaccaro said...

I didn't have any decent cheese, and as I wasn't about to make a trip to the store, I omitted the cheese. Then I whipped the potatoes with some butter and cream, then folded in some beaten egg whites. Very fluffy!! Thinking about maybe sprinkling panko over it next time to give it some real crunch.

james said...

kony 2012

Anonymous said...

Is the egg a must? I have a child that's allergic to egg. would I need to add something else as a binding agent?

Chef John said...

egg is optional!

Cat V said...

SOOOOO going to try this one for the holiday! I always forget how easy this is to make. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Will let you know how it comes out, making it for our party on Saturday...Thanks for the recipe!!!!

Mark said...

Chef John, you're the best. I'm going to try to make a vegetarian version of this for my dyed-in-the-wool vegetarian wife (get it?). I plan on substituting Gimme Lean Beef-like stuff, making it more of a Cottage of Vegetable Horrors Pie. Because of the taste and nature of the veggie meat in question, I also plan on leaving out the cinnamon (because it's probably delicious with lamb but would be weird with veggie meat), adding a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and some fresh thyme. I will let you know how it works out but would love to hear any suggestions you might have!

Bun Boy said...

Making this right now, looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I made this last night and I added a bag of peas, corn, green beans and carrots...it was very yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

Cathy said...

Chef John! I recently started following your blog and now every time I need a recipe for ANYTHING, from mashed potatoes to prime rib I search your blog first. I love how your recipes are simple, easy to follow and DELICIOUS! Only suggestion I would make is if it's possible show the amount of the ingredient you're adding in the video. Because I find myself pausing the video and going back to look at the blog while I'm cooking. But maybe I should just not be lazy and print out the ingredients before I start. Thanks for having such an amazing blog! My friends all think I'm an amazing cook now and I just tell them to thank Chef John!

Angelina said...

I know you *emphasized* using lamb, but can I use beef instead? PLEASE? If so, I assume the rest of the ingredients stay the same? Thanks! :D

P.S. The jambalaya was delicious!

Chef John said...

You don't need my permission to use another meat! ;-) Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

This was excellent. Thank you!
P.S.: How could you pass up a perfectly good cowpie joke? :(

Cas said...

Making this tomorrow with my boyfriend this will be both of our first time trying shepherds pie Excited!!

Thanks Chef

B McCoy said...

I to just found your web site.your a great cook I dont care what the guy said about kethup some times you need it and anybody can come up with a amazing meal if they see it don on a video. but to make real sheppards pie you have to borrow the meat and potatoes from your nieghbour then charge him for a piece

Kristen said...

Hi Chef! I love your recipes and have made quite a few! (loved them all so far!). One thing I find frustrating though is the lack of cooking instructions on the blog. I understand this is the point of the videos but when I try to make the recipe it's frustrating to have to scroll back through the video to check something as basic as oven temp. Even some very basic to the point directions following the ingredients list would be appreciated. Thanks Chef!

Chef John said...

Sorry. That's how I teach. Forces people to test and write their own notes. Also, after working long hours doing free videos, the last thing I want to have to do is type! ;)

Montana_Girl said...

Tonight I was thinking about what "pantry meal" I could throw together and stumbled upon this blog. I haven't had Shepherd's Pie since I was a kid and had forgotten all about it. I had all the ingredients (sub. hamb for the lamb)so I made your version and have to say it came out better than perfect and even my picky husband and kids loved it! I will be a regular follower of your blog from here on out. :)

Thank you Chef John!

Montana_Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SL McDonnell said...

Chef John,

Firstly, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful recipe. I happen to be from Erin (and currently living in the USA), and you are correct this is extremely authentic and the most accurate version I've ever found!! Cheers!

And lastly, I was wondering: I'd like to make this for a dinner party, but prepare it a day ahead of time. How would I re-heat it once I get to the event, (which is a potluck) without burning it? There will be an oven there as well as a fridge, but I don't want to singe it or dry it out.

Thank you SO much!

Slan go foill,
Leah

SL McDonnell said...

P.S. In regards to a previous comment, while turnips may be the veggie used instead of carrots/ peas/ etc...remember Scotland is a good bit away from Erin, and the recipes DO differ slightly. At my family's homes, ANY root vegetable made a happy Shepard's pie. Carrots are almost always included! And peas are a fancy touch (Yes turnips and leeks are sometimes used as well, but that's in ADDITION to, not instead of). The cinnamon and Catsup are also ingredients which are often used and appreciated. And yes, while some ppl slice the potatoes and lay them on top, that is a very uncommon way to serve it nowadays, as the mashed-browned top gives it the consistency that is typical to most hungry mouths. Just saying, as an Irish person (not French, not Scottish) this really is extremely accurate to how my family and friends make and serve it. Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

You can cover with foil to prevent burning, BUT since it takes almost as much time to reheat as it does bake, I would just prepare and bake there! Would be much better.

sgtmaz250 @att.net said...

I made this recipe two weeks ago, the family thought I was a a culinary hero. This is one of the better recipes.As a side note being an avid hunter I make most dishes with venison, which was perfect with this recipe. Thank you.

Eoin said...

Just found your blog, very nice mate. But no Worcestershire sauce in a Shepherds Pie? just saying ....

I'm looking forward to cooking up loads of your recipes.
All the best.

Anonymous said...

Thnx chef John! My husband and I luv this recipe. +

Anonymous said...

I made changes to fit my budget, using ground beef, frozen mixed veggies, sharp cheddar cheese & instant mashed potatoes. It can be done. I did it & my family loved it. Thank You Chef John. Looking forward to trying other recipe's you have.

TimD said...

Hi John,
Do you have any preferred recommended substitution for regular wheat flour in this recipe for a gluten sensitive guest?

Chef John said...

I'm sorry I don't! Never used GF flour. I'd check the GF sites, as I'm sure there are standard substitutions

dana enani said...

do i steam my peas or just put it frozen?

Chef John said...

just thaw and drain first.

Collin said...

Chef John, why the egg? Are you using it for binding should the gravy do that sufficiently and why not use the whole egg?

Chef John said...

just to add a little richness and color to the potatoes.

Greg Genovese said...

Hey Chef John! Love your site and have been spreading the foodwishes love to all my friends! Also you're hilarious....

Just curious as to how many servings this makes? I didn't see servings anywhere in the post. Thanks!

Kevin Navarro said...

Can I add corn to the recipe?

Chef John said...

OF COURSE NOT!!!!!

(just kidding, of course you can! it's your food!)

christopher sica said...

I wish Chef John was my dad!

NicolePitta said...

Hello Chef John!
I've made this recipe a few times now, and its always a hit! So, thank you!
I was wondering if it would be okay to prepare and assemble all the ingredients without baking the day before, then bake the whole thing the next day.
Would that work out okay?
Thanks so much for all of your wonderful videos!
Your the best!

Chef John said...

Yes you can! Thanks!

Sneezy said...

Maybe not 'Ranchers Pie' because that name is taken for a dessert pie made with coconut and pineapple. I suspect the 'cottage pie' moniker IS because the poor folk who could not afford lamb lived in cottages.

At any rate, I'm thankful SOMEBODY invented it - shepherd or cowboy - because it's freakin' delicious!

Alfred said...

Love this blog
So may different versions
I make this pie on a weekly base with
Whatever mea & ingredients t I got and call it "MYPIE"
Simple and it work in the establishment I work for LOL
Cheers Alfred

Diane Balch said...

Just wanted you to know that I've included your recipe in a collection of Irish foods on Simple Living and Eating. I will be pinning and tweeting it this week too. http://www.simplelivingeating.com/2014/03/ode-to-ireland-irish-recipes-healthy.html

William Garrard said...

Hey Chef John,

Made this for St. Patrick's day today and it came out wonderfully. Thanks for the idea!

ChristineDux said...

Question: Do you peel your Yukon Gold potatoes before cooking? It looks like you do in the videoI don't.