Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve always been a fan of shepherd’s pie — a cottage pie containing ground shepherd. In the event that a shepherd is not available, mutton or lamb may be used.



  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 large egg yolk


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots (peeled and finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground shepherd (in a pinch, substitute mutton or lamb stew meat)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup English peas (fresh or frozen)
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Put them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set said pan over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, drop the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the meat, salt and pepper, and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the meat with the flour, toss to coat, and continue to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer slowly for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the half-and-half and butter in a microwave-safe container and nuke till warmed through, about 35 seconds.
  6. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes (a masher is an excellent tool for this, though a hand mixer will also do), then add the hot half-and-half mixture, as well as the salt and pepper. Mash to smoothness, then stir in the egg yolk.
  7. Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture and spread evenly in a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling over, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.


Add yours
  1. 1

    After the holidays we always have leftover Bloody Mary mix on hand. I took a chance and substituted ~1 cup of it for the Worcestershire, tomato paste and about 1/2 the broth. Turned out fantastic and I’ll be making Shepherd’s pie with my leftover Bloody Mary mix from now on!

  2. 2

    Jeff, it has salt and pepper in the ingredients….. Read, then type. And this is his recipe as I’ve made it for many(now with my own changes)

  3. 5

    I love this recipe! Been making it for years and it is always a hit. I do tweek it a little. I sub ground beef for lamb to save on cost. Plus I use dry herbs when I do not have fresh ones.
    The best addition is adding a lite layer of shredded white cheddar right over the top of the potatoes before putting it into the oven . Enjoy! We do 🙂

  4. 7

    Alton, the pie belongs to the Shepard hence apostrophe S. Do we say Apple’s pie if the main ingredient is apples? Anyway my husband has mad this every Christmas Eve for the past few years and my family loves it. We substitute mushrooms for the meat for a vegetable version. Happy holidays!

  5. 9

    I must admit – I have a hard time believing this is a true “Alton Brown” recipe… No salt, no pepper?? Only two herbs?? And flour measured in volume and not weight? Highly suspect… …which is why I had no problem exhibiting a little culinary freedom; seasoning for start, like salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and WHY drain potatoes after they’ve cooked?! You’re just draining out flavor! Don’t fully cover the potatoes, boil and cook as directed, stirring occasionally until soft, then mash right in their juicy potato broth. Delicious!

  6. 10
    Karen Loeffler

    My picky family loves this dinner. I generally mix lamb and beef. This is a 5☆ comfort food!!

    Sometimes we find ourselves doing something in a pinch and never go back to “real”, (i.e. cake mix, instant mashed potatoes, microwaved baked potatoes etc.). I once had a Capt. That refused to have bakers in the microwave, I forgot how good oven baked potatoes were and I haven’t put a baker in the microwave in 25 years. This is the same with mashed potatoes. I made these “Alton Brown” mashed potatoes a few years ago. I haven’t opened a package since. They are so easy, fast, and so much better.

  7. 12
    Diane Henderson

    This is one of my family’s very favorite recipes. So glad you posted this recipe! I double the mashed potatoes!

  8. 13

    My 14yo daughter just made his tonight. Delicious!! Now I have to log the nutritional facts…. Where can I find them without adding up every ingredient and dividing by 4 servings?

    • 14

      Mern, this is super late, but according to MyFitnessPal, the calorie count should come out to around 810 calories per serving if you divide it into 4.

  9. 16
    Kenny D

    Absolutely incredible as usual from AB. I made this the night before and then warmed it up in the oven the next day – fantastic. I’ve made at least 100 different AB recipes (with no flops) and have a DVR solely dedicated to taping Good Eats episodes that I can watch for reference purposes. Can’t wait for “The Cooking Show” and hoping the tour comes to the South Jersey / Philadelphia area!

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