Welcome to The Storied Recipe! This Guinness Shepherds Pie recipe (or Cottage Pie, if you use ground beef) came from my podcast guest, Anita Parris Soule - her father, actually. Make sure you listen to her episode, A Complicated Father's Day while you make her dad's rich and creamy Irish Shepherd's Pie.
As a mom of 4 hungry boys (3 are teenagers!), I love this hearty dish of ground lamb meat (or ground beet), healthy vegetables, flavorful sauce, all topped with a creamy mashed potato crust!
In Anita's episode, she shares that to make the BEST shepherd's pie, you need to add one secret ingredient.... And you've guessed why this is named Guinness Shepherds Pie 😉
The amazing thing about this hearty pie is that it contains all you need for a meal in just one dish. However, if you're making this for a large crowd or dinner party and need ideas to serve alongside this casserole, make sure you hit 37 Side Dishes for Shepherd's Pie. Also, if you're preparing for a St Patrick's Day celebration, definitely pair this with these beautiful green-spiraled Pesto Rolls from Danielle Ellis, bread expert and judge of the World Bread Awards.
Listen to Anita's Story
Anita says this about her dish. Tune in below to hear more about her amazing father.
This is *the* dish of my childhood. My dad made so many wonderful recipes, but if I had to choose just one that reminded me of him the most, it would have to be his Shepherd's Pie. The act of chopping the veggies and getting everything in order to make this dish reminds me of him so much. I watched him and helped him countless times. It took me some time to be able to cook this again after he died. Who knew carrot peels and onion skins could conjure up such nostalgia and sentiment. I write more about my dad and this dish in the blog post. There are also a few links in the post to more "journal entry" type blog posts I wrote after my father passed away. https://wildthistlekitchen.com/wild-thistles-and-wineberries/ https://wildthistlekitchen.com/a-cat-named-gravy/
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- If mashing the potatoes, like Anita's recipe calls for, use Yukon Gold - the softest, must buttery potatoes around.
- Some recipes recommend russet potatoes. These work better if you're ricing your potatoes instead, as russets are firmer.
- You'll add lots of delicious things like sour cream, butter, and bay leaf to make the topping extra creamy
Shepherd's Pie vs Cottage Pie
- traditional Shepherd's Pie recipes call for ground lamb
- Cottage Pie is just "Hamburger Shepherd's Pie" - it's identical, except with ground beef in place of ground lamb.
- Choose whatever you'd like for this recipe.
- Anita's father knew this recipe would go to the next level with an earthy flavor complementing the lamb or beef
- Anita's father called for ½ cup coffee or Guinness Stout to provide that extra layer of depth
- Guinness Stout is a more traditional approach to this classic Irish dish
- You'll use onions, celery, carrots, and peas
- This recipe also calls for tomato paste
- You'll want to keep the total volume of vegetables the same, but within that parameter, feel free to adjust your choice or proportions of vegetables. Some recipes call for green beans.
- Rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves give this rich & hearty casserole a lift and an amazing layer of fresh flavor
- Save a few to garnish the top of the potatoes
- Prepare Potatoes:
- Boil, drain, and mash potatoes.
- Add butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper.
- Cook Meat Filling:
- Brown beef in medium pot, add vegetables and spices.
- Mix in tomato paste, flour, stout beer, stock, and sauce.
- Simmer until thickened.
- Layer meat mixture in baking dish.
- Add peas if desired.
- Spread mashed potatoes on top.
- Bake until lightly golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
- Make sure you use the Guinness made in Ireland (instead of the United States) - It's called "Foreign Guinness" and has a higher alcohol content and tastes like the Guinness you would find in the UK.
- Use a dark ale or stout, if you don't have Guinness on hand.
- If beer flavor is not for you, use coffee, like Anita's father
- If you're short on time, use boxed mashed potatoes over the real thing
Shepherds Pie is classic comfort food can be made in multiple ways. Here are a few variations:
Riced potatoes - Some recipes call for putting potatoes through a ricer instead of mashing.
Gluten Free Shepherds Pie - This recipe is already SO CLOSE to gluten free! Just leave out flour when making the gravy. You can use cornstarch as an alternative, or simply add a little of the mashed potatoes to the sauce for a really easy option.
Venison, Ground Turkey, Ground Pork, or Ground Chicken Shepherds Pie - Simply swap out the proteins. For the ground turkey or ground chicken, consider adding a little extra broth as those meats tend to be a little drier than the beef.
Cheesy Cottage Pie OR Tater Tot Shepherds Pie - Sprinkle a layer of cheddar or American cheese over the meat mixture, then top with a layer of tater tots.
Dressed Up Shepherds Pie: Serving in individual dishes and/or use a piping bag to top the pie with decorative pops of mashed potatoes
Make Ahead and Storage
Can you freeze shepherds pie?
- Technically, you can, but the potatoes will get runny upon defrosting.
- Instead, I'd suggest making the meat mixture and freezing that.
- On the day you want to eat your, make the mashed potatoes fresh. Add the mixture to a casserole dish
- That delicious rich, hearty meat and gravy filling can boil up and around the edges of the mashed potatoes. Consider putting foil in the bottom of your oven or placing the dishes on a large baking sheet in case of spills.
37 Things with Shepherds Pie