Traditionally, the Irish did not eat beef. You know that around March 17, the grocery stores pull out their haul of plastic coated, pre-spiced, corned beef and pair it next to a hug bin of cabbages, at dirt cheap prices. Add that to a lovely Guinness display & you have an American marketing dream!
Truthfully, the Irish people could not afford beef. Cow were used to work the fields and only slaughtered when they were too old to do so. They were considered a wealthy man’s meal and also considered sacred due to legends passed down for hundreds of years of three sacred cows. One of these was named Bo-Fin and was destined to fill Ireland with the greatest cattle ever seen.
Lamb was more likely a regular staple on an Irish table, along with potatoes and root vegetables in a hearty stew or pie. When St. Patricks Day comes around, my Irish-Scot family prefer to celebrate with a tasty Shepherd’s Pie & an imported Irish beer!
- 1.5 lbs ground lamb
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 tsp Worcester Sauce
- 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups frozen peas & carrots mix, defrosted
- 1.5 lbs peeled & cubed russet potatoes
- 1/2 -cup milk (or cream!)
- 4 tbsp butter softened
- 1 egg yolk
- salt & pepper
Boil the cubed potatoes for approximately 15 minutes until cooked then drain them. Warm the milk, add the butter & add to the potatoes and mash thoroughly. Stir in the yolk and add salt & pepper to taste then put aside.
Heat oil in a pan and brown onion. Add garlic and cook until translucent. Add ground lamb and cook thoroughly. Add salt and pepper and then sprinkle flour over meat and stir thoroughly before adding tomato paste, broth, herbs and Worcester. Bring all of it to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer 10 minutes until sauce thickens. Add peas & carrots mix.
Pour meat mixture into 11×7 cooking dish or casserole. Spoon mashed potatoes on top, making sure to completely cover the entire top of the meat mixture to the sides, creating a seal, and smooth with a spatula or your hands.
Bake at 400, on a cookie sheet, for 20 minutes or until top of potatoes begin to slightly brown. Let cool 15 minutes before serving with a good Irish ale or stout!
Sláinte & Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!