Irish Shepherd’s Pie has always been much-beloved for its comforting, filling, stick-to-your-ribs quality. In the U.S., it’s known as a rich, beef-based stew with a thick layer of crispy, warm mashed potatoes on top. However, speak to any Shepherd’s Pie connoisseur, and they’ll insist that lamb is the only way to go. Back in the 1700’s, folks in England, Scotland, and Ireland used lamb as the base of the pie. Why? Because Shepherd’s do what other than… look after sheep. The contemporary Shepherd’s Pie that we know (with beef) was formerly known as a Cottage Pie, because ranchers work with cows. Regardless of what protein you pick, though, you’re sure to enjoy this filling, Irish classic.
This year, in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, avoid the drunken madness on the streets and opt instead to whip up one of these versions of the savory dish.
If you want to go the more contemporary route, this recipe hits all of the notes you’re looking for. Hearty ground beef with carrots and parsnips, loaded with creamy baked potatoes on top—it’s sure to please any crowd.
If meat and potatoes isn’t your thing, we’re way ahead of you. Lentils are a wonderful canvas for flavor, and in our vegetarian version of the dish, we substituted them for beef or lamb. Shiitake mushrooms and mushroom powder help make it feel even more substantial—no one will even miss the meat! Top the veggie pie with a generous amount of buttery mashed potatoes, and you’ve got a perfect twist on this classic comfort food. Make ‘em both and please everyone!