Mini Shepherd’s Pies


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    Mini Pies

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Lamb is the traditional meat for a British shepherd’s pie, though ground beef is an ideal alternative if you’re unable to find (or order) ground lamb. With beef, this technically becomes a “cottage pie” instead. A little trivia for that next round of Foodie Fight.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • pounds ground lamb
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion and cook until the carrot is nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until it is no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.

Stir in the tomato paste, parsley, vermouth, and rosemary. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper and cook a few minutes longer, until well blended and cohesive. Set aside.

Put the potato pieces in a pan of salted water and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and let sit for a few minutes, allowing most of the steam to evaporate. Return the potato pieces to the empty pan and mash with a potato masher or large whisk. Add the half-and-half and butter and continue to mash until evenly blended and smooth. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the lamb mixture into 8 (½-cup) ramekins or other small baking dishes. Top with the mashed potato, spreading it evenly. Set the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top and bubbly around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer the shepherd’s pies to a platter or heatproof tray and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve on a warming tray to keep warm, if you wish.