Foodie Friday – Shepherd’s Pie

Foodie Friday – Shepherd’s Pie

This foodie Friday brings another classic family recipe, this time we’re sharing a delicious Shepherd’s Pie from the Tucci Table by Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt. Perfect as a comforting after-school meal for the little ones!

shepherd's pie

This was a Blunt family favorite when Felicity was growing up. She says, “Mum would ask us what we wanted for dinner, and shepherd’s pie was always my answer. (My sister’s was pasta Bolognese.) When I moved to the U.S., this became a favorite British import. If you can only find ground beef, that’s fine—though technically that changes the recipe to cottage pie. I often make two of these at a time, then freeze one for later. I make the mashed potatoes with olive oil, as a few family members are lactose intolerant, but if you want a richer mash, do substitute butter and milk.”


Serves 6 to 8

For the filling

  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds good quality ground lamb
  • 3 anchovies
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the mashed potatoes

  •  2 pounds floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (¼ to ½ stick) butter (optional)


  1. Make the filling: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pan. When it is nice and hot, add the ground lamb and anchovies and cook until the meat has browned. You will probably need to do this in batches. If water comes out of the meat, keep pouring it off as it appears; otherwise, your meat will boil and start to become rubbery.
  3. While the meat is browning, place the cooked vegetables in a food processor and pulse so they are uniformly small.
  4. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat and return the vegetables to the pan. Add the thyme and rosemary.
  5. Add the red wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken stock and stir through the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes more.
  6. Taste the meat. If it hasn’t softened sufficiently, add a half cup of chicken stock and cook, with the lid ajar, for 20 minutes more.
  7. Make the mashed potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with a pinch of salt and add enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan, setting them aside with the lid on for a few minutes to help them soften further. Mash them well, season with salt and pepper, then add the olive oil, mashing until silky smooth and adding more or less oil as needed. If you like, you can also add the butter for extra richness.
  8. Assemble the pie: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  9. Spread the meat over the bottom of a baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes in healthy spoonfuls over the top and spread evenly. Then take a fork and run it across the top to create little rivulets. Drizzle with some olive oil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  10. Serve with peas on the side.

The Tucci Table


The Tucci Table

Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt

Published by Orion Books as a hardback & eBook, priced £25/£12.99, on April 2nd, 2015.

Available from Amazon






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