Okay, I confess, this isn’t really Shepherd’s Pie, it is technically Cottage Pie. If you want Shepherd’s Pie substitute the ground beef with ground lamb or, even better, leftover meat from a leg of lamb. I don’t usually have ground lamb on hand so this is how I tend to make it. And, while I may be of Irish decent, this is probably not the most traditional recipe that you will ever find. It is really freaking good, though. It will definitely impress your friends around Saint Patrick’s Day. Even the one who keeps going on about how he had the REAL thing in Ireland a few years ago.
Pair it with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Sauvignon Blanc if you want wine. Personally, I’ll be having a Guinness, a Smithwycks or a Wee Heavy of some sort.
First off, peel 6 or 7 medium sized potatoes. Chop into similar sized chunks and boil until nice and tender. Drain, add around a cup of milk, half a stick of butter, a heaping tbsp of horseradish, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until fluffy. Now read the last three words of the last sentence. Again. Do NOT under any circumstances use an electric mixer. Use a masher if you must, but a whisk works best. No mixer. Got it? Mom? Put the mixer on the table and walk away. Do it now. Thank you.
Congratulations, you have now made a very tasty bowl of mashed potatoes! Set it aside. Time to work on the meat filling.
Heat a pan over med-high heat and then add about a pound and a half of ground beef and break it up kind of fine. Season with a little salt and pepper. Once it is mostly browned add some chopped carrots (2 or 3) and cook until they start to get tender. Stir in one large chopped onion. Continue cooking until the onions are very translucent, then add about 6 cloves of minced garlic and stir until your smell the garlic. Immediately stir in 1 1/2 tbsps of flour and continue stirring for a minute or two, take care that nothing burns.
Dump in a can of Guinness and stir, making sure to scrape any delicious brown goodness off of the bottom of the pan. Add a drained can of corn and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce. You can also add a drained can of peas at this point, but not if you want my kids to eat it. Adjust the seasoning with some salt and pepper and cook until nice and thick.
Take your delicious beefy slop and pour it into a baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cheddar works well, but use what you like. Now spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top, grind a little pepper on top and lightly sprinkle some more cheese on top of that.
Pop it under the broiler and keep a close eye on it. If one area starts to brown faster than the rest, move the pan around so that you get a nice even golden brown color.
Remove and grab a fork and whatever libation you have chosen.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Sláinte!