For no particular reason, I didn’t think I would dig this dish.  But after reading a couple of blog posts, I was intrigued. I decided to make one with my own little twist on the traditional.  We’re fans now.  I’m planning on making a few renditions of this 250 year old dish in the months to come.

Shephard’s Pie has been around since the late1700’s and is said to have roots in Irish and Scottish cuisine.  Also known as cottage pie or hachis Parmentier, true shepherd’s pie is a meat pie topped with creamy potatoes. It is thought that frugal housewives whipped up the pies as a way of reinventing leftovers from the Sunday mega-meat meal, which was usually lamb. Today, most shepherd’s pies you’ll come across are made with beef or a beef and lamb blend.  We had ground beef and ground lamb, so I made ours with this combo, tossed in an organic blend of peas, corn and carrots, lots of herbs and roasted garlic whipped potatoes.  We have a ton of winter kale so I topped the potatoes with a delicious kale sauté and fresh basil leaves. It was enough food for an army, but my 3 guys polished it off in two meals.

In addition to how easy they are to prepare, shephard’s pie utilize leftovers beautifully AND they are a one skillet dish. Always a plus!

Here’s the recipe:  Preheat oven to 400 (to be turned down for the pie)


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2-1/2 pounds yukon gold or new red (we used organic yukons)
  • 1/3 cup milk, warm
  • 4 T butter, plus 2 T for the kale sauté
  • 3 T cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus 1 tsp for kale sauté
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 to 5 cups lacinato kale, stemmed
  • 1 T olive olive oil, plus 1-1/2 tsp for head of garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh or dry thyme


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T Italian herbs
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 3/4 cup organic chicken or beef broth
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped organic Italian parsley


  • brush head of garlic w 1-1/2 tsp olive oil.  Place on baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes.  When done, pull out and cool.  Once cooled you can squeeze garlic out of paper wraps directly into cooked potatoes.
  • Turn oven down to 375.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Fill pot with water, bring to boil and add potatoes.  Cook for 15 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, add 1 T olive oil your cast iron skillet.  On medium heat brown beef and lamb.  Cook for 5 minutes, add salt and pepper.  Once cooked, drain off fat and transfer meat to large bowl. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, add 1 T olive oil and place on medium heat.  Add in onions and carrot, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until slightly softened.  Add minced garlic, tomato paste and stir well..  Add ground meats back into the pan.  Add in Italian herbs and Worcestershire sauce.  Incorporate everything.
  • Combine the corn starch with the chicken or beef stock, add to seasoned meat mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring until slightly thickened.  Add in corn and peas, mix well and remove from heat.  Taste for seasoning.  Add more salt, pepper or herbs if needed.
  • When potatoes are done, drain well and in a large bowl add potatoes and warm milk and whip potatoes until incorporated.  Add butter and cream and squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins into the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper and whip again until creamy.
  • Spread potatoes evenly over meat mixture – to the edge of the cast iron skillet
  • Put shepherds pie in the oven and bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until potatoes are slightly browned and meat / veggie juices are bubbling on edges. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • While pie is cooling, melt 2 T butter and 1T olive oil on medium heat in sauté pan. Toss in kale and remaining minced garlic.  Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until kale is slightly wilted and still has vibrant green color.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread kale onto potatoes – we made a ring of kale as you see in the picture.  Garnish with basil leaves and / or fresh Italian parsley.  And hot sauce if you’re so inclined.
  • Serve with a green salad and a cold mug of brew or hearty red.

Let us know what you think of this dish.  It was a first, so we’re really interested to hear if you liked it.  Hoping to do a couple more renditions of Shephard’s Pie this winter!