shepherd’s pie

I first fell in love with shepherd’s pie at this amazing Irish restaurant in Tempe in college called Rula Bula. It doesn’t hurt that they smother their’s in cheese. Yum! But I loved the texture, depth of flavor, and the combination of salty, tangy, sweet, and savory. As in most cases when I taste something delicious, I decided to learn how to make it.

And the result was…. (drumroll)…. DELICIOUS!

David and I were in awe of how easy it was to make, how great it was, and how similar it was to beef pot pie, but with potatoes instead of crust. We do have some changes in mind for the next time, included adding root vegetables and red wine to the mix, topping it with sharp cheddar (a tribute to Rula Bula), and serving it in our individual ramekins.

Be sure to give this recipe a try!



1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, diced
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk


2 T canola oil
1 c onion, diced
2 carrots, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or beef chunks)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t  ground black pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
2 t tomato paste
1 c chicken broth (or bouillon)
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup red wine
2 t chopped rosemary leaves
1 t chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup turnips, diced
1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 c fresh or frozen English peas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar


Boil potatoes in a medium saucepan over high heat until tender and easily crushed with tongs. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Boil turnips over high heat in small saucepan until tender, then drain and set aside. Heat saute pan and oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and saute 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, red wine, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the turnips, corn, and peas to the filling and spread evenly into a baking dish (or individual ramekins). Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then add cheese and cook an additional 5-10 minutes until melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

(Recipe adapted from Alton Brown)

You may have noticed that my seal didn’t hold too well. Ha! I used left over mashed potatoes and did not have enough to fully cover my dish. No worries! It still tasted amazing! And now I have something to do with leftover mashed potatoes (since neither David or I will eat them).

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