Farmhouse Shepherd’s Pie

shepherd's pie with potato crust

Farmhouse Shepherd’s Pie is a rustic Irish casserole with ground lamb, gravy, and veggies topped with a cheddar mash — it’s the ultimate comfort food,

farmhouse shepherd's pie on a wooden table

my farmhouse shepherd’s pie is classic comfort food

This is a hearty lamb casserole with the surprise of  parsnips, and turnips in the mix. I top it off with mashed potatoes enriched with some good Irish cheddar. It doesn’t get any warmer or cozier, and the flavor of the heartier fall veggies is a nice change from the traditional carrots and peas.

what you’ll need:

  • ground lamb
  • yellow onion
  • parsnip
  • turnip
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • flour
  • broth
  • mashed potatoes ~ I used instant for convenience
  • cheddar cheese

The process has a few stages, but all simple. I brown the meat and remove it into the casserole dish. I sauté the veggies for a few minutes, then give the pan a hit of stock and cover it so they can get a chance to tenderize. Then I remove them to the casserole with the lamb. Next I make the gravy in the same pan. Some butter and flour, a little seasonings and extra flavor enhancers, and the rest of the beef stock. It thickens as it comes to a simmer, and then everything gets piled into the casserole.

serving farmhouse shepherd's pie onto a small plate

Because there are a few stages to this dish, I take the shortcut and make instant mashed potatoes. I enrich them with shredded cheddar cheese and then pipe them onto the stew. Since everything is hot it doesn’t take much more than 30 minutes to finish in the oven. This makes great leftovers, too, so it’s well worth the effort.

more comforting casseroles

shepherd's pie with potato crust
3.6 from 10 votes

Shepherd’s Pie with Fall Vegetables

Farmhouse Shepherd's Pie is a rustic Irish casserole with ground lamb, gravy, and veggies topped with a cheddar mash --- it's the ultimate comfort food,
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine Irish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 4 -6 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 pound good quality ground lamb
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 15 oz can beef broth
  • 1 bouillon cube of your choice I used a mushroom stock cube, dissolved in a tiny bit of boiling water


  • instant mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a 10" skillet with olive oil, I used my cast iron skillet. Brown the lamb, breaking it apart as it cooks. Put the lamb in the casserole dish.
  • In the same pan saute the onion for a few minutes, and then add the parsnip and turnip. Saute for a few minutes, then add a splash of broth, and cover to let them steam until just barely tender. Remove them to the casserole dish as well.
  • Make the gravy in the same skillet...melt the butter and add the flour, stir to combine and cook for a few minutes, just until it starts to turn light brown. Add the broth and the bouillon and stir until the gravy thickens. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the gravy over everything in the casserole and give it a good stir. Cover loosely with foil and set in the oven while you make the mashed potato topping.
  • Make 6 servings of the mashed potatoes according to the box directions. Add the cheese when you add the dried potatoes to the liquid.
  • Spread or pipe the potatoes onto the top of the skillet. Put back in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until everything is hot and bubbly and the potatoes have started to brown. You can put the casserole under the broiler for more color if you like.

Cook's notes

  • If you don't see ground lamb in the meat case, ask the butcher, mine ground some up fresh for me. In a pinch you can use ground beef.
  • If you like you can add some fresh herbs into the mixture before topping it with the potatoes. Parsley, thyme, or sage would be good choices.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Hi Sue… you mentioned “sprouts” ???? what kind of sprouts? thx, sparki

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 15, 2021 at 8:19 am

      An earlier version of this dish included Brussels sprouts, but in retesting I omitted them. You can add them if you like, this dish is versatile.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 7:06 am

    This looks amazing. I’m loving the brussels and those potatoes!!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight, Sue. I used hamburger and Mr. Squash cannot stop raving about it! Thanks so much for another terrific recipe!

    • Reply
      November 8, 2015 at 6:31 am

      Great! My husband Grant turned out to be a surprise parsnip fan 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    What a cozy dinner, I love all the fall vegetables you added here!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    November 5, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Those vegetables must taste extremely flavourful and delicious after absorbing all the juice from ground meat, but the best part is that smooth creamy potato topping :-))

  • Reply
    November 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

    sprouts! what a great addition! i love your decorative potato piping too. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 5, 2015 at 7:02 am

    A worthy riff on the classic ! I love that I’m seeing parsnips used more and more in cooking! No more basic roasted or fried parsnips! New and novel treatments!

    • Reply
      November 5, 2015 at 11:02 am

      We all agree here that parsnips are just fantastic — I buy them almost every time I shop now!

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