Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

All Things Irish Week…Shepard’s Pie

on March 15, 2012

My go to dinner for St. Patrick’s day has always been and remains Shepard’s Pie.  Technically, this has British roots, but today it is definitely associated with Ireland and if you use lamb and/or Guinness to make it…well I think it counts.  I don’t have any pictures to go with this but I will after Saturday and I will update them.  This isn’t the most traditional recipe out there probably…I use a lot of veggies, but it has always gotten rave reviews from friends and family.  I just wanted to put the recipe out there for anyone looking for something yummy to make for St. Patrick’s Day.


  • 1 lb. of ground hamburger or ground lamb or a combination
  • half of a yellow onion finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large can of beef stock (you may want one or two small cans as back-up just in case)
  • 1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout Beer
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 large carrots cut into bite size pieces
  • 2-3 parsnips cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of fresh or frozen green beans cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of small mushrooms
  • 2-3 celery stalks cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 4-6 potatoes (as many as it will take you to make enough mashed potatoes to cover the top of your beef and veggie mix)
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Irish Cheddar
I know this seems like a long list, but it really isn’t too complicated of a recipe I promise.  Also, as I said, I use more veggies than probably some other recipes call for so feel free to pick and choose which ones you use and how much of them you use.  I don’t actually use the mushrooms myself, but I know that they are common in some recipes so I added them there as an option.
  1. Peel and cut the potatoes and then put them in a pot to cook.  Add just enough cold water to cover the potatoes and then put on to boil while you make the meat and veggie mixture.
  2. The first thing to do is brown your hamburger and/or lamb in a large pot.  Add to this salt and pepper to taste (I also use some Montreal steak seasoning for extra flavor).  I start with a big pot so I don’t get so many dishes dirty.  When the hamburger is almost done, add the onion and garlic and continue cooking until the onion starts getting tender and translucent.
  3. When the meat and onion are finished cooking, add the flour to the meat and let it cook it out for a couple of minutes.  Next add the beer and start adding the stock a little at a time.  You are sort of making a gravy at this point so you want to make sure that A.) you keep stirring so it doesn’t get lumpy or burn and B.) that you don’t thin it out too much with the stock.  It should be relatively thick.
  4. Now it is time to add all of your veggies except the peas.  Sometimes I pre-boil the carrots and parsnips a little just to make sure they don’t stay too crunchy.  Let your mixture cook on low while you mash your potatoes.
  5. By this point, your potatoes should be tender and ready to mash.  Drain off the water, add some butter and salt and pepper, and then start mashing.  Consistency all depends on what you like.  You can go a little chunky or really creamy.  Whatever sounds good to you.  Once your potatoes are done, get them ready to pipe onto your casserole.  You can use a piping bag with a really big tip or you can just put them into a gallon baggie and cut off one of the corners.  You don’t have to pipe the potatoes, but it does make it easier.  Trying to spread potatoes on top of a liquid mixture without sinking them can be very frustrating.  I took me like 2 years of making this to figure that out.
  6. Add the peas to your beef mixture and then pour everything into an over safe casserole dish.  Make sure not to over fill…no more than 3/4  of the way full.  You still have to add the potatoes and have a little room for bubbling in the oven.  It usually takes me a large and a small corningware dish.
  7. Pipe the mashed potatoes on top of the beef and veggie mixture.  You can be as fancy or not as you like.
  8. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour.  It is good to put a cookie sheet under the casserole dish because more often than not there is some bubbling over.  After the first half hour, sprinkle on as much grated Irish cheddar as you like and let cook another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.  I like to turn the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes or so just to get a nice brown and slightly crunchy top.
  9. Pour yourself a nice Guinness and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Slainte!

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