Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rippin' Another Blog: Shepherd's Pie (Not Cottage Pie)

I don't talk too much about my romantic relationship on my blogs.

But John is instrumental in helping me get my posts done. He is endlessly supportive in his words, unquestioningly generous in his efforts to help me get the shots I need and constantly puts up with being served cold food because of said photo needs. He also eats everything. Good or bad. And he's honest too.

Honest about shepherd's pie.

I know right? In this moment you're like, wtf?

I grew up eating shepherd's pie. Or so I thought I did. Fast-forward 15 years or so and I learn that what I thought I was eating all those years was a farce. Or at the very least, a cultural hiccup.

Cottage pie V. shepherd's pie. 

Cottage pie is what we typically call shepherd's pie in North America. Ground beef, carrots, peas, onions, potatoes, baked in the oven and (hopefully) smothered in gravy. Uh, yes. Yum. Yes? Yes. 

But what this very clever and sexy beer-drinking physics-loving film-geek Brit told me was shepherd's pie must entail lamb. Hence the shepherd. Baaaahhh! (sheep noise). With beef it's simply cottage pie. And with the dish being of the English variety, he should know.

Rug. Ripped. Out. From. Under. Me.

Luckily he was there to catch me and I've been calling a spade a spade ever since - cottage pie = cows, shepherd's pie = sheep. Unless of course I want to give him a hard time... and then I conflate the two. Because I'm a bitch like that.

Speaking of bitches .... this recipe comes courtesy of a little blog titled The Domestic Man. It's okay to segue bitches because men can't be bitches. Can they? I followed his recipe to a T - actually, I followed it right into my stomach because it was Ah-mazing! Thank you Domestic Man for making my mouth happy and my blog a space to speak out about a very important issue. Baaaahhhh!

Shepherd's Pie (Not Cottage Pie)
(printable recipe) - serves 6.


1.5 Lbs Ground Lamb.
3 Medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and chopped.
1 Small White Onion, diced.
1 Medium Carrot, diced.
1 Celery Root, diced.
2 Cloves Garlic, minced.
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste.
1/2 C Chicken Broth.
 2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce.
1/2 Tsp each fresh thyme and rosemary, stemmed and chopped.
1/2 C Frozen Peas.
3 Tbsp Butter .
1/2 C Heavy Cream.
Coarse Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

Fill a large saucepan with the potatoes and cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender - approx 20 minutes.

Drain and return the potatoes to the empty pot. Add 2 Tbsp of butter, the cream (starting with 1/4 C and adding more if necessary), and a good helping of salt and pepper. Mash until smooth but be careful not to over mash or you'll end up with a sticky gooey mess. Cover and set aside.

As the potatoes boil, heat a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add the lamb and brown, stirring often. When it is almost entirely cooked drain the meat, reserving the fat. Set the meat aside and add a couple of Tbsp of fat back into the pan, along with the rest of the butter. Melt and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until softened (approx 8 minutes).

Add the tomato paste and garlic and massage into the mixture. Saute a further 2 minutes.

Dump in the herbs, broth, Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer until the liquid thickens slightly - approx. 3 minutes.

At this point you can turn your oven on to 450 degrees F.

Remove from the heat and reintroduce the lamb to the mixture as well as the peas.

Dump the lot into an 8" baking dish or roasting pan and spread even.

Gently top with the mashed potatoes - little bits at a time until it's even all over. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30-45 minutes or until the top of the potatoes gets crispy and slightly golden.

Pull from the oven, let rest 5 minutes, and then dish up! Feel free to serve with your favorite gravy recipe if you like gravy. Who doesn't like gravy?

How do the people in your world make your life better?
Can men be bitches?


  1. I did not know this, either! Shepherds (uh, Cottage) pie was and is a staple in our house. But I omit the peas b/c the man says it's like eating tiny exploding heads.

    I can't, just CAN'T, get on the lamb bus. I have tried it nine ways from Sunday and can't seem to make it work for my taste buds. They recoil in horror.

    So cottage pie it is. And my, isn't is just deeeelicious....

    And yeah - men can be bitches.

    1. it's okay Lindsey - more lamb for me :) i LOVE lamb! LOVE LAMB. love. lamb.

      p.s. the tiny exploding heads is THE reason i eat peas! i love the pop pop pop!

  2. Looks great! I like the addition of gravy. Very Canadian :)