St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away. Usually I make corned beef and cabbage to celebrate – it’s kind of a family tradition and I’d always assumed we ate corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day because that is what they do in Ireland. Wrong! Turns out this tradition has spread all over the world… except in Ireland.
On March 17th, most Irish are celebrating with a tasty roast leg of lamb. I love leg of lamb, especially with lots of garlic and plenty of rosemary. I also love Lamb Shepard’s Pie. It’s probably a much too humble dish for a real Irish celebration, but it tastes SO good.
There are hundreds of variations for Shepard’s Pie, but a nice fluffy crust made from mashed potatoes is the key. I add milk, butter, sour cream, chives and a little cheddar cheese to make them extra yummy. Underneath, a savory mixture of ground lamb and veggies awaits…
I like to include brussel sprouts and turnips – I think their “bite” works really well with the sweetness of ground lamb, but if you don’t like these stronger flavors, substitute another vegetable, like corn or green beans. You can also substitute ground beef for the ground lamb.
Start your own tradition this year and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some real Irish comfort food.
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small leek, white & green parts, thinly sliced and washed well
- 1 medium carrot, diced (1 cup)
- 10 brussel sprouts, quartered
- 1 medium turnip, diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup low-fat milk
- 2 Tbsp. sour cream
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
- salt and pepper
- Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, brown the lamb in a large sauté pan, drain off excess fat, remove the lamb and set aside.
- In the same sauté pan, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks begin to soften, about three minutes.
- Add the carrot, brussel sprouts, turnip and garlic.
- Continue to sauté for two more minutes, then stir in thebeef broth, worcestershire sauce, and fresh thyme. Cover with foil or a lid and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter, milk, sour cream cheddar cheese. Mash well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the vegetables are tender, stir in the lamb.
- Pour the lamb mixture into a medium sized casserole dish and spread the potatoes on top.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes unil the filling is bubbling hot and the potatoes have topping begins to brown.
- Remove from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes then serve in bowls.