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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is one of England's most famous dishes. At its simplest it is made of minced lamb (hence the Shepherd name) covered with mashed potato. A layer of cheese may also be added on top, which will give the Shepherd's Pie a crispier, more appealing top (and make it taste more cheesy). Shepherd's Pie is often confused with Cottage Pie, which can be made to exactly the same recipe but should be made with minced beef instead of minced lamb.

Cuisine: English
Type: Lamb, Meat
Courses: Main Course, Pies
Serves: 4 people
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Recipe Ingredients

1 lb 454g / 16ozMinced lamb
1   Onion (roughly chopped)
1   Carrot (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 lbs 681g / 24ozPotatoes (suitable for mashing)
40 grams 1.4ozButter
1   Vegetable or meat stock cube
1   Tin of plum tomatoes
  Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe Instructions

Peel the potatoes and boil them in a large saucepan of water (not salted) until tender (a sharp knife should pass through them easily but they should not be breaking up). Drain once cooked and keep in the saucepan with the lid on.


Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large saucepan and frying pan and then add chopped onion and carrot. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until onion is soft. Add the minced lamb and the tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon (or use pre chopped tomatoes) so you have smaller pieces. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Dissolve the stock cube (preferably a good quality stock cube) into 200 ml (one cup) of water and add to the onion, carrot, minced lamb and tomato mixture. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the meat is cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the butter and milk to the potatoes and mash until you have a smooth potato mash.

Put the mixture from the frying pan into a deep oven proof dish, making sure it is of even depth across the dish. Layer the mashed potato on top. Grill (put under the broiler) for 2 to 3 minutes until the top is crispy and light brown.


You can sprinkle grated cheese (we prefer cheddar or parmesan) on the top before grilling/broiling it. This makes it taste slightly richer (and cheesier!).

You can also add two cloves of chopped garlic at the same time as the onions for more depth of flavour.

We also like to add finely chopped spring onions (scallions) and/or parsley to the potato mash, which adds a bit of crunch and flavour to the potato topping.

Cooking Index's recipe team


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