Shepherd’s Pie

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This rather homely dish has long been a common way to use up an old joint or roast, so it is natural that it should have come to America with the English. I doubt if many people recognize it as an old English recipe when they see it on menus across the United States. The American version is basically the same, except that one well-known food writer mixes flour with the mashed potatoes, which makes a much heavier crust.

Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, low-fat, peanut free, soy free

Equipmentbaking/gratin dish



Taste and Texturebubbly, creamy, crisp, meaty, savory

Type of Dishsavory/pot pie


  • 3 cups cold lamb ground coarsely (other meats may be mixed with it)
  • 1 onion ground with the lamb
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup stock or milk
  • 4 to 5 good-sized potatoes—mealy potatoes preferred
  • Milk ¼ to ½ cup


  1. Grind the lamb and onion, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat and add the flour to make a roux. Stir in the liquid and continue stirring till thickened. Season to taste. Combine with the meat. Spread into a 2-quart baking dish. Cool thoroughly. Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling water till tender. Drain, mash, and add 4 tablespoons butter, the milk, and seasonings. Let it cool slightly.

  2. When the meat is quite cold, spread the mashed potato over it to make a crust, or force it through a pastry bag, using a large rosette tube. Dot the crust with butter. Add crumbs or grated Parmesan cheese, if you like. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is nicely brown and the dish is bubbling hot. A coleslaw would make a pleasant accompaniment to this dish.

  3. Although this is a delicious dish as it is, you may want to add some thyme or tarragon or a touch of garlic and tomato to the lamb. Or you may add chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon, and parsley, to the mashed potatoes.


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Looks pretty darn bleak and bland to me.

You should make clear whether you are using uncooked or leftover cooked meat.


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