St. Patrick’s Day Shepherd’s Pie

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  (And a three day late Pi Day!)

I know many of you out there did your celebrating over the weekend, but here is a recipe to close out your festivities.

As I thought about what to make for my St. Patrick’s day post, I toyed with a few ideas.  1) Put green food coloring in everything.  2) Make corned beef and cabbage (but I don’t have a crockpot, and it is more of an Irish-American meal).  Finally settling on 3) Shepard’s Pie.

But how was I going to make my Shepherd’s Pie different from the other recipes out there? (and St. Patrick’s Day appropriate)  I decided it would be with the infusion of beer!  By boiling the potatoes in lager and using Guinness to make the sauce; I have created a savory version of what people in the US call a ‘Black and Tan.’  However, that term in Ireland carries with it a negatively loaded connotation associated with the British military.  In Ireland the layering of dark beer and light beer is more frequently referred to as a ‘Half and Half.’

Now Shepherd’s pie is a traditional dish originating in northern England, Ireland, and Scotland (where exactly is hard to say).  All areas have strong livestock raising traditions.  And still is a popular meal in Ireland  I did take a short cut by using a bag of frozen peas & carrots (but if you’re going to use frozen peas might as well save yourself some work and use frozen carrots as well).  If you want to use fresh carrots; just dice them into small pieces and saute them in the pan for 5 minutes, before you add the onions and the beef.

Also, if you want to use ground beef (or turkey or venison) that’s fine too.  Some purists would argue that Shepherd’s pie made with beef is really ‘cottage pie.’  But when in a gravy with vegetables, covered in mashed potatoes, and baked; the average person probably won’t be able to tell the difference.  And for this recipe I also had to make a substitution.  I was unable to find Harp (and Irish lager) in North Yorkshire.  True I’ve only checked 4 stores, but I don’t believe in making unnecessary work for myself; so I’ve substituted in Cobra, the lager that was already in my fridge.  Also the recipe for the potatoes made more than I needed to cover my casserole (I froze the leftovers for a future meal).  But if you are using a 9×13 pan you may need the full amount to cover the wider area.

Here is what you will need:

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Peel and chop potatoes.  Put them into a pot of water and add lager and bring to a boil.

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Chop onion and saute in oil until soft.

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Add lamb and cook until browned.  Then drain off any fat.

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Add butter to pan and then add flour.

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Add rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, chicken broth, Guinness, Worcester sauce.  Simmer until thickened.

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While the lamb simmers, drain potatoes and add butter back to the warm pot.

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Roughly mash the potatoes and then add milk and continue to mash.

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Add shredded cheese and chopped chives.

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Put lamb into casserole dish and top with a layer of potatoes.

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Bake in a 350° F (175° C) oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is browned.

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Recipe serves 6

For meat:

  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb (400 g) of ground lamb
  • 1 lb (400 g) of frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 3 tbsp of flour (or flour substitute)
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

For potatoes:

  • 4 medium/large potatoes
  • 1 pint of lager, divided
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 cup (200 mL) of milk
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives
  • 4 oz (115 g) of cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Peel and dice potatoes.  Put into a pot with lager and 4 cups of water and boil.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in non-stick pan on medium-high and saute onion for 5 minutes until translucent (don’t brown)
  3. Add in lamb to pan and brown.
  4. Drain off any fat in the pan and add frozen veg.  Saute until no longer frozen.
  5. Add butter to the pan and melt.  Then add flour, thyme, and rosemary and mix through.
  6. Add tomato paste, Guinness, and broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Once potatoes are cooked drain.  Put butter in the warm pot to melt.  Return potatoes to the pot and start to mash, adding in milk a little at a time.  Once potatoes are mashed mix in chives and cheese.
  8. Once the meat mixture has reached a thicker consistency, put into greased casserole dish.
  9. Top meat with potatoes and bake and a pre-heated 350° F oven (175° C) for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are brown and the gravy is starting to bubble up.

About Leslie@myfoodhistorytravelblog

Hey! I'm an American living in the UK with a passion for food, history, and travel. You can follow my experiences at myfoodhistorytravelblog.com (not a creative title - but you know what you'll be getting).
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