Colcannon Shepherd's Pie

colcannon shepherds pie
Photo: John Dolan
Prep Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
6 to 8 Serves

There's a delicious twist on this take on shepherd's pie and it's guaranteed to delight. The usual flavorful ground lamb filling dotted with peas and speckled with parsley is topped with a mashed potato mixture spiked with thinly sliced Savoy cabbage. The mash is better known as Colcannon, a classic Irish side dish made of mashed potatoes and cabbage (sometimes kale is also used). The simple topping takes this comfort food favorite to new heights.



  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ pounds ground lamb

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (2 cups)

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch coins (1 ¼ cups)

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • ¾ cup packed chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (5 cups)

  • cup whole milk, warmed

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing


  1. Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl in oil. Add lamb; season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up into bite-size pieces and stirring occasionally, until browned in places and just cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

  2. Remove all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet; return to medium heat. Add onion and carrots; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden in places, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 30 seconds. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Return lamb and accumulated juices to skillet. Stir in Worcestershire, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in peas and parsley. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.

  3. Mash: In a large pot, cover potatoes with 1 inch of water; add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain. Return pot to medium heat; swirl in oil. Add cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until collapsed and tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Return potatoes to pot; mash with a potato masher. Add milk and butter, mashing and stirring until mixture is creamy and cabbage is distributed evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mash evenly over lamb mixture; brush top with butter. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment.

  4. Bake until golden brown in places and bubbling along edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Pie can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Cook's Notes

For a creamier mash, press cooked potatoes through a ricer into the pot with cabbage before adding milk and butter.


Traditional shepherd's pie is made with lamb, but you can also substitute ground beef or use a combination of lamb and beef.

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