image of shepherd's pie in a bowl

Shepherd’s Pie Is My Favorite Comfort Food

This Shepherd’s Pie reminds both kids of the time we lived in Wales. When I cooked the minced lamb (that’s ground lamb to you and me), the dog would sit outside, salivating and staring at the exhaust vent where it exited the kitchen over the patio. We ALL loved it. I think you will too, and if you aren’t a fan of lamb, sub out lean ground beef.

If there’s a story with a recipe here, it’s because I’m a storyteller, and that’s how it fits my “brand”. Or whatever that’s what they tell me. If you’re thinking “Enough with the story, get to the damn recipe”, click here and it will jump straight to the recipe. I won’t be offended.

I know my family wishes THEY had a “jump to the point” button, too.

Also, I should note: I am not a food blogger. What I am is someone who loves to cook but is disorganized and a bit absentminded – and I spend way too much time trying to find/remember my ever-evolving recipes. I’m also usually hungry, and forget to take a picture of the dish before I dig in. The original recipe for this shepherd’s pie is vastly different from the resulting one, measurements crossed out and revised, and splattered with the dregs of spilled Worcestershire sauce.

So when you stumble across a recipe on my blog, it’s mostly likely a favorite and simply here for the fact that I lose my recipes constantly. And because it’s my blog, so why not. Maybe I’ll start tying these in with a good book or something scenic.

To that end, here’s a picture of Wales. The lambs that went into this pie are not pictured here.

Picture of sheep in a welsh field

How I Make My Shepherd’s Pie

Loosely. I finally had to sit down and measure all this stuff out for you, because this is a dish I eyeball. The Worcestershire sauce reads “10 dashes” on my recipe, but I usually add more to taste, so I finally worked out that it’s about a tablespoon. The chopped onion is a fistful, and I finally figured out that in total, I use 12 ounces of broth.

This recipe all comes down the quality of the lamb, so if you can find organic, go for that. Once you’ve added the broth and it’s bubbling away, taste the tomato-y sauce. If it’s a little bland, give it another splash of Worestershire sauce. If it’s not very saucy, add some more broth or a squeeze of tomato paste. Give it a sprinkle of salt if needed, if you’ve used a low-sodium broth.

Remember how I mentioned that I forget, constantly, to take a picture before I dig in? Well, since this is the perfect dish to pop in the over when I take my son to soccer and have it ready for my husband to pull out when he walks in the door…

I returned home to find the remains of a demolished, perfectly cooked shepherd’s pie. And the family forgot to get a photo for me. And shepherd’s pie is like stew – not the prettiest to look at, but rich and delicious and a hot mess in the bowl.

I’ll let you in on a secret – I use prepared mashed potatoes nearly every time I make this. I’m too lazy to mash myself since there are brands that make simple mash with only potatoes, milk, salt, and butter. (Just check the labels.)

shepherd's pie

Shepherd's Pie

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

One of my favorite comfort foods, this dish can be made with lamb or beef, and the filling can be made ahead and frozen for a quick, make ahead meal.


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh thyme (chopped finely)
  • fresh rosemary (chopped finely)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 LB lean ground lamb
  • 1 TBSP flour (heaping)
  • 1-1/2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire​ sauce
  • 1-1/2 C chicken stock
  • 3 medium Russet Potatoes, peeled*
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter*
  • 2 TBSP Milk, plus more as needed*
  • *Optional short cut: you can substitute one container of ready-to-serve mashed potatoes for homemade. We prefer brands without artificial ingredients, such as Simply Potatoes.


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Heat oil and garlic in a large pan.
  3. Add carrots, onion, and herbs and cook gently to soften.
  4. Meanwile, boil potatoes (or heat up ready-to-serve mashed potatotes. If using ready-to-serve, skip step 11.)
  5. Increase heat and add ground lamb, stirring frequently until browned.
  6. Add flour, tomato paste, and Worchesershire sauce and stir well.
  7. Gradually add stock, scraping bottom to deglaze if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover for 40 minutes.
  8. Stir occasionally, adding extra stock as needed (if it starts to look dry). Sauce will thicken.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Put in 2 quart oven proof dish.
  11. Drain and mash potatoes, adding butter and milk until reaching a creamy consistency. (It needs to be fluffy enough to spread but not runny.)
  12. Add mashed potatoes to the lamb and veggies in pan, and spread/flatten with a fork.
  13. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil the last 5 minutes if you prefer the top to be browned.


  • To speed up prep, you can replace 1 small onion with 1 Cup of frozen chopped onions, and replace the homemade mashed potatoes with a container of premade mashed potatoes such as Simply Mashed.
  • The easiest way to put together the mashed potato layer is to scoop less-than-full tablespoonfulls onto the lamb mixture, starting at the outside edges and then distributing evenly across the top. Use the backside of a fork to gently flatten/spread out the taters (and make a pretty pattern!)
  • Recipes that use tomato paste rarely use the full can, so I prefer to Italian tubes of tomato paste! Just squeeze out the amount you need and reseal the lid!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 606Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 36g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

Looking for more comfort food recipes? Try my recipe for Balsamic and Onion Slow Cooker Pot Roast. I promise, you’ll never reach for those packages of onion soup mix and ranch dressing again.

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