Jolee's Kitchen: Shepherd's Pie

Jolee's Kitchen: Shepherd's Pie


Jolee's Kitchen

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Jolee's Kitchen! Today we are bringing you a classic dish, Shepherd's Pie. Enjoy this tasty comfort food with our Del Rio Vineyard Estate Malbec. 



Quite a few years ago, my nephew’s wife from England offered to cook Christmas Eve dinner, and make a dish that they have at her house over the holidays. I had heard of Shepherd’s Pie, but until then I had never had it. To me, it was a new comfort food. It had all the ingredients of the perfect casserole- meat and potatoes, with lots of veggies mixed in. Since then, our family cooks Shepherd’s Pie a few times a year. Often during the winter, and then again around St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you who don’t like lamb, you can use beef instead. Fun fact: when you use beef in place of lamb, it changes the dish’s name to Cottage Pie. It's often confused with Shepherd's Pie because, up until the 20th century, the names were used interchangeably. Now, Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie differ only in the type of ground meat they are made with. The recipe I use has both, so maybe we should call it Cottherd’s Pie? 

-Jolee Wallace

Shepherd's Pie


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 ½ pounds (about 3 to 4 large) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded aged white cheddar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup frozen peas defrosted (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ¾ pounds lean ground beef
  • ¾ pounds ground lamb
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup beef stock
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Step 1: In a large pot, bring water to a boil with a bit of salt. Add potatoes to boiling water and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, until soft; a knife should go in with almost no resistance.

Step 2: In a small saucepan or a microwave oven, heat 6 tablespoons of the butter and milk together until butter melts. Drain potatoes well and return to pot. Using a masher, mash hot potatoes until smooth. Mix in the hot butter mixture, just until blended. Stir in the cheddar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Step 3: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the beef and the lamb. Cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. (At this point, you can drain off some of the excess fat if you like.) Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Add the tomato paste and stir, cooking until it is well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid has thickened slightly. Stir in the parsley and peas and remove the thyme and rosemary stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Transfer the meat mixture to a 3-quart casserole baking dish and add dollops of the mashed potatoes then spread them out over the top. Transfer to the oven and, if the mixture is at the top edges of your pan, set a foil-lined baking sheet underneath the pan to catch any drips. Bake the pie until the potatoes have begun to brown and the edges are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.