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Shepherd's Pies

This recipe for traditional lamb potpie makes eight individual servings (or two large pies instead). If you like, you can replace the lamb with ground beef. Cool pies completely before covering with plastic and freezing for up to three months. Reheat frozen pies (small or large) in a 375-degree oven for about an hour.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
Shepherd's Pies

Source: Everyday Food, October 2004


  • 2 pounds freshly ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook lamb until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a colander set in a bowl; let fat drain off and discard.

  2. Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups water, and lamb. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Divide among eight 8-ounce ramekins or two 9-inch glass pie dishes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.

  5. In pan, bring milk and butter to a simmer; remove from heat. Return potatoes; mash. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread over pies; use a fork to make peaks. Bake on a baking sheet until tops are browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly; serve.

Reviews (11)

  • mamisweden 13 Mar, 2013

    amazing recipe. I used beef ground meat tonight because I did not have lamb. But it is the best recipe ever. Thank you Martha!!

  • elyse1 20 Mar, 2010

    I made this for a birthday dinner and was told that it was the best Shepher's Pie they had ever had.

  • tisbarbarala 20 Feb, 2010

    Very good with the ground lamb. FYI - When using ground beef this recipe becomes Cottage Pie.

  • lovetoknitandread 11 Dec, 2009

    Another Martha keeper! My family loved this one. Kids will gobble it up.

  • geeyouknit 13 Jul, 2009

    The recipe is great. However, I used 8-ounce ramekins and still had a lot left over. Next time I'll use bigger ramekins, because the 8-ounce portions was definitely too small.

  • ginnymaxwell 16 Jan, 2009

    I made this last night in a cassarole dish and it was amazing. Perfect wintery comfort food and my husband loves lamb so I am happy to have a way we both really like it.

  • KLove100 13 Jan, 2009

    I used a larger casorole dish and used lean ground beef because that is what we had on hand. I also sprinkled a little parm cheese on top of the potatoes so the top browned nicely. I would definitely make this again, and will try the lamb next time - great comfort food!

  • nanceg123 11 Jan, 2009

    can't wait to try it

  • JulipTulip 18 Mar, 2008

    I added mushrooms, zucchini, and parmesan cheese on top. Loved it, and you can freeze it for later as well.

  • mimi7 6 Mar, 2008

    I threw this in a 9 x 13 and used instant mashed potato flakes for a faster meal. It was perfect! This is a great meal to take to a sick friend or friends with a new baby. Easy to re-heat and always tastes great. Oh, and I added cheese in the last 5 minutes for a little extra...mmmmmmmm!

  • nanadebe 12 Dec, 2007

    This is a family favorite...usually use ground chuck instead of lamb. Also very good reheated the next day....if any left!

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