Classic Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Keeping things fairly simple around here.  To be honest, I am not really all that hungry, but my hubby still has to eat. I found a small package of lamb mince in the freezer and so today I did him a shepherd's pie.

People often confuse Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie, using the terms interchangeably.  In reality, although quite similar, they are actually two very different things, with one using minced lamb and the other minced beef.

The clues are in the names  . . .  a Cottage Pie, uses beef, and is so called because of the "thatch" of mashed potatoes on top . . .  said to resemble a thatched roof cottage. 

There is certainly a "Thatch" of mash on both casseroles  . . .

"Shepherd's" Pie is so called because it uses minced lamb . . .  and it is shepherds who have traditionally cared for flocks of sheep/lambs. 

My husband really loves a dinner like this.  Meat and potatoes are his favourite of all food combinations, and you can't get more meat and potatoes than this!

I have sized it down to generously serve two people.  (There being only two of us in the home, and me only really wanting to serve it to my husband.)  There are quantities in the recipe for both two and four servings. 

Its a fairly simple and classic recipe.  Some recipes call for the addition of veggies, some don't.  I choose to add in some grated carrot, and a layer of peas.

The carrot gets grated into the meat mixture, where it flavours the gravy nicely  . . .

The peas I add in a layer between the meat and gravy and the potato thatch on top  . . . 

I also add a smattering of grated strong white cheddar cheese to the top of the potato  . . .

It tastes really good and  helps to get a really nice golden brown colour to the finished dish. 

My husband was one very happy camper when I set this down in front of him. You would have thought all of his Christmas's had come at once. 

Yield: 2

Shepherd's Pie for Two

prep time: 25 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 55 mins
A classic family favourite perfectly sized for two. Ingredient measurements for 4 are in the brackets.


  • 2 tsp sunflower oil (1 TBS)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped (1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 medium carrot peeled and grated (1 medium carrot)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced (1 clove)
  • 1/2 pound lean minced lamb (1 pound)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp plain flour (1 TBS)
  • 150ml (generous half cup) lamb or vegetable stock (300ml/1 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (1 TBS)
  • frozen peas (Optional)
  • 1 pound floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (2 pounds)
  • 2 TBS milk (4 TBS)
  • 1 1/2 TBS butter (3 TBS)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) strong white cheddar cheese (50g/2 ounces)


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the onion and garlic in it until softened. Add the minced lamb and cook, breaking up the lamb with a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir in the carrot and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the flour and herbs. Gradually whisk in the stock and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until it bubbles and begins to thicken. Leave to simmer while you do the mash.
  2. Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender, about 12 - 15 minutes. Drain well. (Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5) Return to the pot and shake over the residual heat of the burner to dry out. Mash well with a potato masher. Stir in the butter and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the lamb mixture. Pour into the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover with a layer of frozen peas. Spoon the mash over top to cover, roughing the surface up with the back of a spoon or a fork. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Spoon out onto heated plates to serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pâté Chinois is the French Canadian version of a Cottage or Shepherd's Pie.  My father always loved it and still does.  I hope you will give this "English" version a go and enjoy it!  Bon Appetit! 

Note - the herbs I used were dried parsley, thyme, rosemary and marjoram


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