The ultimate comfort food
This traditional casserole is one of my all time favorite dishes to make on a blistery, snowy day. It’s hearty, stew style base topped with buttery mashed potatoes is the perfect meal to enjoy by the fire. However, I like it so much that I don’t always wait around for a snowy day to make it!
Most people are familiar with what Shepherd’s Pie is, but I’d wager that a good amount of people are actually thinking of Cottage Pie when they refer to it. The difference is what meat is used, lamb or beef. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, while the more popular Cottage Pie, is made with beef. Being a traditionalist in the kitchen, I make mine with lamb.
This recipe is inspired from Chef Anne Burrell that was featured on her show “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.” After making many versions over the years, this is one that concluded my hunt for the best Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
Rather than the commonly used ground meat that most people associate Shepherd’s pie with, I prefer to use diced lamb that I butcher into 1/4 inch pieces from a boneless leg of lamb. I’ve tried it all and this approach makes for a much more refined, classic dish that really shows off the stew base of this dish. It creates a rich, saucy element to it that you just can’t achieve with ground meats. I also find when using ground meat, the end result is often too oily. By butchering your own lamb, you have much more control over the fat content going into the stew base, and by cooking it low and slow, the meat just melts in your mouth. It’s perfection.
This recipe is delicious, can be made in advance, and sure beats any version you’ll find out at a restaurant or from the grocery store. Sometimes I make one large family style casserole, and other times, I make individual versions. Same great flavors, two different plating options. Serve with crusty, buttered bread for the ultimate UK comfort food.