This dish is a staple at my house for St. Patrick’s Day. Along with the lamb stew, you can comfortably fill your guest's tummies for a Paddy’s day party. In my view, shepherd's pie can only be made with lamb: use beef and you have a cottage pie. I once had a bag of parsnips left over after making my stew, so I decided to add them to my mashed potato topping. It was a great addition. My shepherd's pie potato topping always has parsnips now. Try it and your dinner guests will agree.
Ingredients for the base:
1 lb ground lamb
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T flour
a couple of good dashes of cayenne powder
1 t salt
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t good soy sauce
1 t red boat fish sauce
1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup lamb stock (preferably) or chicken stock
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Heat heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat. Brown the lamb, about 10 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the remaining ingredients except the peas. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Now add the green peas. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the base is cooking, it’s time to make the topping.
Ingredients for the topping:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
1 medium parsnip, peeled in cut in thin disks
2 t salt
4 T butter
3 T lamb or chicken stock
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the salt. Peel potatoes and parsnip. Cut your potatoes into evenly- sized pieces to cook all at the same time. Slice the parsnip into 1/4" coins. This helps in the mashing process as the parsnip is very fibrous. Add potatoes to boiling water. Add parsnip about 5 minutes later. Cook till both are tender. Drain and mash them together. Add butter and stock.
Preheat oven at 375 degrees.
Spread the lamb base into your casserole dish. Top with potato, parsnip mixture. Spread evenly over the top. Bake for 35 minutes till bubbly and hot. Enjoy.