Almost Shepherd’s Pie

The following recipe is “almost” a shepherd’s pie, quite appropriate for this time of the year since it is almost St. Patrick’s Day.

I thought this was the right time to try another recipe from Ireland England, but I couldn’t find ground lamb (shepherd – lamb, you do see why I needed it, right?) so I went for beef and therefore the following recipe is “almost” a shepherd’s pie ;) {Waaa I have just been admonished by not one but two friends about my statement of this pie being Irish! It is NOT Irish it is British, I guess this makes it even more an “almost”, but the Guinness in it is really Irish, that is certainly what fooled me! Don’t be fooled into thinking its non-authenticity makes it a bit less tasty though!}

Shepherd's Pie

I truly love my Guinness Beef Stew so while I was a little skeptical about this recipe I decided it was worth a try. These Irish/British people seem to know what they are doing ;)

I scouted the web for a good recipe but ended up making a mix of a bunch of different recipes. Even the mashed potatoes topping is not made of your common potatoes-butter-milk mashed potatoes, it has a secret ingredient (not so secret in a bit). The result? Amazing! The bottom has a rich and lusty flavor, the top is subtly sweet and creamy and the crunchy crust is just the icing on the cake. The ratio meat to potatoes is quite low, i.e., some meat and lots of potatoes, so be aware of this if you decide to try this recipe. Personally I enjoyed it this way.

I am really happy about the way my improvised “almost” shepherd’s pie turned out so I am going to write it down right away before I forget what I tossed in the pan.


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 250 gr (1/2 lb) ground beef
  • 1 carrot
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Guinness (or broth)
  • 1/2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) peas
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 500 gr (1 lb) potatoes
  • 40 gr butter
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 100 gr cream cheese (secret ingredient for tasty mashed potatoes)
  • salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


Shepherd's Pie - steps

Slice the onion thinly. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, cover and sweat it for few minutes. The onion should become soft without browning (picture 1).

Cut the carrot in small chunks. Add carrot and beef to the pan. Cook stirring for about 10 minutes until the meat is done (not pink). Picture 2.

Add the Guinness, tomato paste, parsley, rosemary, peas, some salt and pepper (picture 3). Cook for 10 minutes until the liquid has thickened, then remove from heat.

Meanwhile prepare the mashed potatoes topping. Put the potatoes in a pot filled with water and boil until tender (when pocked with a fork you can easily go through) about 40 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.

Drain and peel the potatoes, then mash them and add butter, milk and cream cheese, mix to make mashed potatoes. Add nutmeg and salt to taste (really taste your mashed potatoes and add salt until they taste just right).

Shepherd's Pie - meat and mashed potatoes crust

You are now ready to put your “almost” shepherd’s pie together and toss it in the oven. Spread the meat and vegetables in an ovenproof dish (I used two 22×14 cm -8.5×5.5″- ceramic casserole dishes) and top with the mashed potatoes. I used a pastry bag to cover with the mashed potatoes but you can simply spoon them in. You don’t want a flat surface on top, cover the meat and then rough it up. Peaks of mashed potatoes will turn brown and crunchy in the oven and they will be one of the highlight of your almost shepherd’s pie!

Transfer to the oven set at 180°C (360°F) and bake for 35 minutes. Note that I didn’t preheat the oven, I try to save some energy (expensive German energy) when I can. In this case there is no leavening involved so it is ok to skip the preheating.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie -spoon

Shepherd's Pie - inside


Isn’t this easy? And it turned out so well! I was skeptical until the very end when the first bite reached my taste buds, at that point I melted and just smiled. It is such a pleasure when you toss things together and they turn out delicious :) I’ll be making this pie many other times!

One Response to Almost Shepherd’s Pie

  1. looks very good. Pies before spring

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