When it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a meal, those of us who don’t like corned beef don’t have a ton of options. Sure, we could just drown our sorrows in Guinness and Bailey’s, but you’ve gotta eat dinner sometime, right?
Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect solution! There’s many different variations of this pie in a variety of cultures around the world, but it’s thought to have originated in Ireland. Shepherd’s pie (known as “cottage pie” in the U.K.) has been around since the late 1700’s, when potatoes were an available, affordable crop for the poor.
These Mini Shepherd’s Pies are a great make-ahead meal for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll be honest and tell you that they are sort of a project, but it’s a project that can easily be split over the course of two days. On Day 1, just make the meat/vegetable filling and divide it among individual baking dishes, then put the dishes in the refrigerator overnight. Also, make the mashed potatoes, with all of the ingredients except the egg yolk, and refrigerate those. On Day 2, gently re-warm the potatoes in the microwave and stir in the yolk, then procede with the rest of Step 4, below.
Have fun with this recipe, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!
Mini Shepherd's Pies
For the Mashed Potatoes:
- 1-1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
For the Shepherd's Pie Filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 pound ground lamb or ground beef
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup frozen pearl onions
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
1. Make the Mashed Potatoes: Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Generously season with salt; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and return to pot; let cool slightly. Add egg yolk, milk and yogurt; use potato masher to mash and combine.
2. Meanwhile, make the Shepherd's Pie Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat with side of spoon. Add carrots and garlic; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until lamb is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Spoon off and discard any excess fat.
3. Stir in flour and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, Worcestershire and thyme; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in onions, peas and corn.
4. Divide lamb mixture between 4 mini casserole dishes. Use a piping bag to pipe mashed potatoes over lamb mixture (or use a spoon to spread potatoes over). Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.