We’re taking a classic Shepherd’s Pie to another level with a cheesy, garlic infused mash. Rich & flavourful with a super crispy topping!

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Shepherd’s Pie With Cheesy Garlic Mash

You can’t go wrong with a well made shepherd’s pie! This rich & flavourful lamb dish works great for a midweek meal or for when you’re catering for a crowd & need a guaranteed crowd pleaser…

Our shepherd’s pie is made the classic way but with a couple of cheffy tips & tricks to take it to another level! We’re talking garlic infused cheesy mash that goes insanely crispy in the oven & a rich lamb filling that’s full of flavour.

This one’s perfect for when it’s cold outside & you need a hearty, warming dish.

Ingredient Notes

  • Lamb Mince – Lamb mince with a fat content of around 20% works best. Alternatively, minced lamb shoulder can be used.
  • Potatoes – Maris Pipers work best for our mash. If you can’t get these, Russets or King Edward’s are some other good options.
  • Red Wine – Don’t worry about using an expensive red wine when deglazing the pan. I’d recommend using a Merlot.
  • Stock/Gravy Granules – Either lamb or beef stock can be used for our lamb filling. Same with the gravy granules!
  • Cheese – A cheddar or Gruyere works best for our cheesy mash. Grating parmesan over the top of the pie helps crisp the potato up but this is optional.
shepherd's pie

Recipe Breakdown

The full, printable recipe card for this Shepherd’s Pie can be found at the bottom of this post!

Lamb Pie Filling

The filling of a Shepherd’s pie consists of lamb mince that has been cooked with diced veg, garlic, fresh herbs, red wine & stock. The result is a rich, meaty filling that’s full of tender lamb & a flavourful gravy. Here’s how to make it…

  1. Brown Lamb Mince – First we fry lamb mince in a pan, until well browned. The lamb is then removed from the pan but with the fat left behind.
  2. Fry Veg – Next, we fry diced veg (onions, carrots, celery) in the lamb fat until soft. This will take around 5 minutes. After this, we stir in grated garlic & chopped herbs then fry for another minute. Then we stir the browned lamb mince back in.
  3. Deglaze – Now to deglaze. To do this, we first stir in tomato paste & a tbsp of plain flour then pour in red wine & use a spatula to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add Stock – Next, we add in warm stock (lamb or beef) & bay leaves. The sauce is then brought up to a simmer & cooked for 30-40 minutes, until thick.
  5. Finish Sauce – To finish our lamb, we stir in Worcestershire sauce, a splash of tobasco & a spoonful of gravy granules. We then cook this out for a couple of minutes then season the sauce with salt & pepper.
  6. Overnight Chill – Refrigerating the lamb overnight is optional but improves the flavour & makes spreading the mash on top, a lot easier.

Cheesy Garlic Mash

Onto the cheesy garlic mash topping.
For the best shepherd’s pie, the mash topping should be rich, creamy, full of flavour & super crispy once baked. There’s a couple of tricks that we’re using in this recipe, to make the best mash! This includes roasting the potatoes instead of boiling, adding in butter, garlic infused cream, egg yolks & a whole load of cheese…

  1. Roasting The Potatoes – We’re cooking our potatoes whole then scooping out the flesh, to make our mash. To do this, place unpeeled potatoes onto a baking tray, drizzle over some veg oil then roast until cooked through.
  2. Infusing Cream – To infuse the cream, we add garlic, rosemary, thyme & double cream into a pan. This is then seasoned with salt & pepper & warmed on the stove, until steaming. The cream is then removed from the heat & left to infuse for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Mashing – Next, we mash the potatoes with a potato ricer (or a masher) then stir in the cream (passed first). melted butter, dijon mustard, cheese, salt & pepper and egg yolks.

Assembly & Cooking

To assemble, place the lamb filling into a 10″ square oven dish then spoon the mash on top. Spread the potato out so that it completely covers the lamb, rough the top up with a fork then grate parmesan all over. Once assembled, the pie can either be cooked straight away or stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Cook in an oven, until the mash is crispy & a deep, golden brown. The filling should also be bubbling & piping hot. Once cooked, let the pie stand for 10 minutes or so then serve.

parmesan mash topping
cheesy garlic mash

Shepherd’s Pie Tips & Tricks

  • For the best flavour, use lamb mince with a fat content of around 20%. A minced lamb shoulder would work as well.
  • Refrigerate the pie filling overnight for a better flavour. This also makes topping the pie with mash, a lot easier.
  • Stir egg yolk into your mash for an extra crispy topping!
  • Add a decent amount of butter & cream to the mash for a richer, creamier flavour.
  • Top the shepherd’s pie with grated cheese for a super crispy top.

Cooking Shepherd’s Pie In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas. Here’s how to cook this recipe in an Aga…

Lamb Pie Filling

Brown the lamb, fry the veg & bring the sauce to a simmer, all on the boiling plate. After adding stock to the lamb, simmer for 5 minutes then transfer to the simmering oven & cook for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Return to the boiling plate & simmer the sauce for another 5-10 minutes (until thick) then finish with the Worcestershire sauce, tabasco & gravy granules.

Potatoes

Roast the potatoes for the mash, in the roasting oven on the bottom set of runners. Depending on the size of your potatoes, this will take between 45 minutes – 1½ hours.

Cooking The Pie

Cook the Shepherd’s pie in the roasting oven, on the bottom set of runners. This will take the 30-40 minutes.

lamb pie filling

Equipment Used

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Shepherd’s Pie With Cheesy Garlic Mash

We're taking a classic Shepherd's Pie to another level with a cheesy, garlic infused mash. Rich & flavourful with a super crispy topping!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: English
Servings: 6 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Microplane/Grater
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Peeler
  • Large Baking Tray
  • Potato Ricer
  • 10" Heatproof Dish
  • Digital Food Probe

Ingredients

Lamb Pie Filling

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 500 g Lamb Mince 20% Fat
  • 2 Large White Onions Finely Diced
  • 3 Carrots Finely Diced
  • 3 Sticks Celery Finely Diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 1 tsp Fresh Rosemary Leaves Picked From Stalks
  • 1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves Picked From Stalks
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 150 ml Red Wine
  • 1 Litre Lamb/Beef Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp Lamb/Beef Gravy Granules See Notes

Cheesy Garlic Mash

  • 2 kg Maris Piper Potatoes Washed, Left Whole & Unpeeled
  • ½ tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 250 g Double Cream
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Sliced
  • 5 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 5 Sprigs Thyme
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter Melted
  • 100 g Grated Cheddar Or Use Gruyere
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 25 g Parmesan To Grate On Top (Optional)

Instructions

Lamb Pie Filling

  • First, pour the veg oil into a large saucepan then place over a medium-high heat.
  • Let the oil heat up for a minute or so then add in half of the lamb mince. Season with a pinch of salt then fry until well browned, breaking the mince up with a spatula/spoon as you do so.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the browned mince from the pan & transfer to a bowl, leaving any fat in the pan. Repeat the frying process with the remaining mince.
  • Next, turn the heat down to medium then add the diced onion, carrot & celery into the pan, adding a splash more veg oil if needed.
  • Season the veg with a pinch of salt then cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add in the grated garlic and the chopped rosemary & thyme, cook for another minute then stir the browned lamb mince back in.
    Make sure to stir the veg regularly as it cooks, to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir in the tomato paste & flour then deglaze the pan with the red wine, letting it cook off for a minute or so.
  • Add in the stock & bay leaves then bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat down slightly then simmer until the sauce has thickened, stirring regularly. This will take around 30-40 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the Worcestershire sauce, tabasco & gravy granules. Cook out for 1-2 minutes then season the sauce with salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
  • Remove the lamb from the heat, leave to cool then refrigerate overnight (see notes).

Cheesy Garlic Mash

  • Preheat an oven to 200°c/180°c fan (392°f/356°f).
    We're cooking both the potatoes & the assembled pie at this temperature!
  • Place the unpeeled potatoes onto a large baking tray & drizzle over the veg oil. Cook in the preheated oven until cooked through. Depending on the size of your potatoes, this will take between 45 minutes – 1½ hours. Once cooked, leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, or until cool enough to handle but still warm.
    Insert the tip of a small knife into the middle of a potato to check if it is soft. If there's any resistance, continue cooking.
  • When your potatoes are about 10 minutes away from being cooked, it's time to infuse the cream. To do this, place cream, garlic & herbs into a saucepan. Season with salt & pepper then warm over a low heat, until steaming hot. Cover with a lid & leave to infuse off the heat, until needed.
  • Next, cut each potato in half, scoop out the flesh & mash into a bowl, using a potato ricer.
    If you haven't got a ricer, use a potato masher or a fork. If you want your mash super smooth, you can push it through a sieve as well.
  • Pass the cream into the potatoes, through a sieve then add in the grated cheese, butter & mustard. Season with salt & pepper then give the mash a good mix with a spatula.
  • Taste the mash, to check the seasoning then stir through the egg yolks.

Assembly

  • Transfer the lamb into a 10" square heatproof dish then top with the cheesy mash. Spread the potato out so that it completely covers the lamb then use a fork to rough up the surface.
  • Grate the parmesan all over the top of the pie (if using) then bake for 30-40 minutes, until the potato is golden & crispy and the lamb is piping hot.
    A digital food probe comes in handy for checking the temperature of the lamb. It should be at least 75°c/167°f.
  • Let the pie sit for 10 minutes then scoop out portions using a large serving spoon.

Notes

1. Lamb Mince – For the best results, I’d recommend using lamb mince with 20% fat. Alternatively, you could use minced lamb shoulder.
2. Gravy Granules – We’re using gravy granules to thicken up our sauce. Lamb or beef granules work best. If you’d prefer, you could add an extra tbsp of flour into the sauce (at the beginning) & leave out the gravy granules.
3. Chilling The Sauce – We’re leaving the sauce in the fridge overnight before using, for two reason. The first is that it improves the flavour & secondly, it makes topping the pie with mash easier. If you’d prefer, you can skip this step. The pie will still taste great!
4. Potatoes – Maris pipers are my preferred choice of potato. King Edward’s or Russets are other good choices. We are roasting them instead of boiling for a better flavour & texture.
5. Red Wine – Don’t worry about using an expensive wine when deglazing the pan. I’d recommend using a Merlot. 
6. Making In Advance – To make the pie in advance, assemble then refrigerate for up to 2 days. Add an extra 5 minutes or so to the cook time.

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