Admittedly, this was my first attempt at Shepherd’s Pie, so the title might seem a little off, but hear me out. In addition to ground beef and fresh mashed potatoes, adding Whiskey and corn make this the Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie, if only because boozy ground beef blanketed by velvety whipped potatoes doesnt scream Comfort Food! I don’t know what does.
Similar to other dishes on the blog, Shepherd’s pie has humble origins, it was first known as Cottage Pie (when using beef) and made primarily in peasant households, as the Potato was being introduced as a staple in the United Kingdom. The distinction between Cottage and Shepherd’s pie is the meat used, Cottage- beef, Shepherd’s uses sheep.
The dish is almost a one pan dish, the meat is cooked in a gravy and fluffed mashed potatoes are baked on top as a crust for a textural element.
What you can expect
- This recipe for Shepherd’s pie carries a thick, velvety gravy from the tomato paste and flour.
- The sweetness comes from the whiskey, which, after the alcohol is cooked off, adds a sweet undertone to the meat.
- Mushrooms add another layer of meatiness and body to the dish.
- Peas and corn add little pops of freshness to the whole thing
For the Mashed potatoes
Start with cold water, and put the potato pieces in. Boil with salt and as soon as they are fork tender, strain. Add heavy cream, butter, and use a whisk to mash them together. The potatoes will start to fluff up easily. Add an egg yolk- this helps to firm up the potatoes in the oven and get those nice slices when scooping up the pie.
Put a sheet pan underneath your pan when in the oven, the filling will bubble up and it can spill all over your oven. The sheet pan catches that and saves you the headache of cleaning it up.
While everything is cooking, have a Guinness.
Shepherdless Pie: Vegetarian, using mushrooms or other vegetables as a meat substitution
Cumberland Pie: Similar to a Shepherd’s Pie, but with a layer of breadcrumbs and cheese on top of the mashed potatoesPrint
The Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie recipe has whiskey, peas, corn, and mushrooms to make an Irish influence. It’s fantastic on a cold winter evening, with really hearty flavors and a slight boozy sweetness, it’s worth taking seconds.
For the Filling
1 lb ground beef or lamb
1 onion diced
2 carrots diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp flour
6 oz whiskey
6 oz frozen corn kernels
6 oz frozen peas
For the Crust
5 yukon gold or idaho potatoes
1 egg yolk
6 oz heavy cream
For the Filling
Saute meat, onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms until browned. Stir in tomato paste, whiskey, and flour, letting the liquid reduce by half. The sauce will start to thicken. Incorporate the peas and corn until the peas are heated through.
For the Crust
Peel potatoes and chop them. Place them in cold water and boil until they are fork tender –don’t boil the water ahead of time. Drain and stir in heavy cream and butter. Using a whisk, incorporate the cream into the potatoes, whipping everything together until it forms an even mixture. Add the egg yolk, stir, and mount on top of the filling.
Bake at 400 degrees until the peaks start to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
I like to do this in a deep pan cast iron skillet. Saves more dishes to clean afterwards and makes this a 2 pot meal.
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A little about me
I’m a chef and a former psychologist. I spent years studying how we experience food to make the best eating experiences possible- and I show you how to eat well on this site. I host secret popups in Miami, FL teaching people how to approach good food that’s never been done before.