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Shepherd's Pies


These pies, filled with ground lamb and topped with potato, are hearty comfort food for the fall weather.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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.

Cook's Notes

This recipe for traditional lamb potpie makes 8 individual servings (or 2 large pies instead). Cool pies completely before covering with plastic and freezing for up to 3 months. Reheat frozen pies (small or large) in a 375-degree oven for about an hour.

Reviews Add a comment

  • 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!!
  • elysee
    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!