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Shepherd's Pie Print E-mail

Shepherd's pie is a great dish to make when you have a lot of family or friends coming over for dinner. It's made in a big casserole pan in layers or meat and potatoes. Just about every culture has a casserole with layers of protein and starch. Italians have lasagna, the Greeks have spanikopita and the Armenians have boereg.

Here's Maggie's grandmother's recipe for yummy shepherd's pie.

You'll need:

  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 8 cups of water
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 1/2 pounds of ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 cup of diced cooked carrots
  • 1/4 cup of butter - melted
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese - grated


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A large pot
  • A fork
  • A strainer
  • A large bowl
  • A large spoon
  • A potato masher
  • A rubber spatula
  • A skillet
  • A sieve
  • A large rectangular casserole pan
  • A metal spatula
  • A little adult help.
  1. Put the cut potatoes into a large pot. Cover them with water and bring the water to a boil.
  2. Cook the potatoes until fork "tender." This means a fork will slide into them and come out without getting stuck.
  3. The next step is to drain the potatoes. The pot will be very hot and heavy so ask for help. Remember "please" goes a long way to making cooking together fun and easy.
  4. While the potatoes are still hot, transfer the potatoes to the large bowl. Add the butter and the milk and mash everything together with the potato masher. You can leave some big chunks because they will give the dish a nice texture.
  5. Heat the oil in the skillet.
  6. Carefully add the onions and brown them for about 3 minutes.
  7. Next, put the lamb into the skillet and cook, turning it gently every few minutes until it is browned on all sides.
  8. Pour off the fat. We used a sieve to make sure we didn't lose any of the meat.
  9. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir in until well mixed.
  10. Pour in the broth.
  11. Add the herbs and seasonings.
  12. Cook until the mixture has thickened. It will take about 15 minutes.
  13. Add the peas and carrots. Stir until the peas and carrots are scatter through out the mixture.
  14. Let the meat mixture cool for a few minutes then spoon it into the bottom of the casserole pan.
  15. Top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes. Use your rubber spatula to move the potatoes around in a motion kind of like icing a cake. Try not to mix the meat in with the potatoes.
  16. Brush the melted butter over the top of the potatoes and sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese.
  17. Put the casserole pan in the oven and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until the top is browned.

When your shepherd's pie comes out of the oven, it will be really hot. So let your uncle or whoever is helping you in the kitchen carry it to the table. You can help out by getting the hot pads or trivet to the table first so he has a place to put the casserole down.

Use your metal spatula to cut square 4 inch by 4 inch pieces and then slide the spatula underneath each piece and lift it carefully out. The first piece will be the hardest to get out of the pan and steam will escape as you lift it - so watch your hands.