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Playing Shepherd's Pie with Patricia Heaton


  • 2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground lamb
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley (a handful), chopped


Serves: 4 servings




Fill a large pot with water, add the potatoes, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add some salt and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.



While potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once hot, add the lamb and, using the back of a wooden spoon, break it up as it browns, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Add carrot, parsnip and onion, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.



Dust with flour, cook 1 minute, then add stock, beer and Worcestershire. Cook until thickened, then transfer to oven-safe pan.



Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Let sit a few minutes to cool slightly. Add sour cream or cream cheese, egg yolk and cream. Smash until smooth.



Preheat broiler to high. Spoon potato mixture evenly over the meat mixture. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6-8 inches from the heat until evenly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.