Hearty Shepherd's Pie


If you want to give beef a break, try our recipe for this comfort-food classic that's made with lamb. Another twist on tradition: Shepherd's pie is usually made in a single dish but you can streamline family dinner by making individual ramekins.


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

  • Coarse salt

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into B -inch dice

  • 1 pound button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into ½ -inch pieces

  • 1 pound cooked lamb, finely diced

  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste (8 tablespoons)

  • 1 ⅔ cups homemade or low-sodium canned beef stock

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup milk

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have ready six 1 1/2-cup (12-ounce) ramekins or a 2 1/2-quart casserole. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat; add salt. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander. Pass through a potato ricer or a food mill and into a large bowl. Cover and keep warm.

  2. While potatoes cook, pour oil into a large skillet; place over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in lamb, tomato paste, beef stock, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles and thickens, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat; divide mixture among ramekins. Set aside.

  3. Warm milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into potatoes; season with salt and pepper, and stir until combined and smooth. Divide, spread, and swirl about 1 cup of potatoes in each ramekin, over lamb mixture, covering surface. Place ramekins on a baking pan, and bake until potatoes are golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand about 5 minutes, and serve.

Cook's Notes

If you do not have leftover cooked lamb on hand, you may use 1 1/4 pounds uncooked lamb stew meat cut into 1-inch pieces: Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add lamb, and cook until deeply browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan, finely dice meat, and use in step 2.

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