Shepherd's Pie


Shepherd's Pie * Rockport, MERainwater Madeira, a fortified wine, gives Brian Hill's pub dish a caramelly sweetness. More Comfort Food Classics

Shepherd’s Pie
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
3 hrs


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 pounds trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 large carrot, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 10 peeled garlic cloves

  • 2 anchovy fillets

  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, diced

  • 1 1/2 cups rainwater Madeira

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat the oil in an enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the lamb with salt and pepper; cook over high heat until browned all over, 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, anchovies, capers and tomatoes to the casserole. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 8 minutes. Add the Madeira and bring to a boil; add the stock and bring to a boil. Return the lamb to the casserole; season with salt and pepper. Cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until tender.

  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, 20 minutes. Drain and cook the potatoes in the pot to evaporate any water. Add the butter and buttermilk and mash. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Raise the oven heat to 425°. Set the casserole over high heat and boil until the juices reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Mash the garlic into the juices. Spoon the stew into six 1 1/2-cup ramekins; set on a sturdy baking sheet. Mound the potatoes on top; bake for 25 minutes, until browned in spots. Let rest 20 minutes, then serve.

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