Smoked Lamb Shepherd's Pie


smoked lamb shepherd's pie

For this recipe, I decided to do a twist on Shepherd’s pie; you know me, I am always a big fan of a classic, but making it different. Shepherd’s pie is already a great fall recipe, such a hearty and warming meal, but I had to make it my own. I switched out the usual ground beef for smoked lamb shoulder, kept the peas because it’s not Shepherd’s pie without the peas, and will show you how to make the most creamy and delicious mashed potatoes to top it off. This will be your go-to fall recipe from here on out; it’s just pure comfort food, and that’s what we need over here in Canada when the weather starts to change.


I started by seasoning my lamb shoulder with Alchemy Brown Rub and then put it in the smoker for about an hour. I finely chopped my carrots, celery and onions and got them going in my heavy bottom pot on the plancha, threw in some herbed butter (just whip butter with garlic, rosemary and lemon zest) and let that cook a bit. Once that was all softened up, I added some tomato paste, then red wine into the pot, pulled my lamb shoulder out of the smoker and got it in there too. I poured in some beef broth and then let it all simmer for about three hours. It’s important to check in on it every hour or so and give the lamb a flip. You do really want to let it cook low and slow for an extended period of time to get that lamb amazingly tender.


While the lamb is cooking, prepare your mashed potatoes. I like to use yellow potatoes for my mash and I will teach you a few of my secrets here for the best mashed potatoes ever. The first tip, is to melt your butter and add in fresh chopped sage. The next tip is to use sour cream instead of regular cream for some richness and tang, and then the last tip is to incorporate an egg yolk into your mash. The heat from the potatoes cooks your yolk as you mix it in and it adds an insane creaminess to your mashed potatoes. Don’t forget to season generously with salt and pepper, a step you definitely don’t want to skip.


When the lamb is done, it should break apart easily, so just break it up in the pot using some tongs, then add in your fresh peas. Let it simmer another few minutes to cook your peas, then it’s time to build your Shepherd’s pie. Spoon your meat and peas into a cast iron pan, or other heat-proof container, sprinkle with a layer of shredded cheddar cheese (this is optional, but is a nice extra gooey/cheesy addition) and then top with the mashed potatoes. Score the top of the mashed potatoes with a fork and season with salt. Pop the Shepherd’s pie into the smoker until the potatoes are golden brown. If you don’t have a smoker, you can do this step on a closed bbq on medium-low heat. Make sure you let your Shepherd’s pie cool off slightly before digging in, because it gets real hot while it finishes cooking - then dig in! If you want to find out how to make my Smoked Lamb Shepherd’s pie, keep reading or jump to the full recipe.


lamb shoulder being seasoned with Alchemy Brown Rub

Preheat your smoker to 275F. Drizzle your lamb shoulder with canola oil and season with Alchemy Brown Rub. Place in the smoker for one hour.


diced carrots, onions and celery being put into a large cast iron pot

After the lamb has been in the smoker for about half an hour to 40 minutes, start to prepare your mirepoix by finely chopping your carrot, celery and onion. Place a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on your plancha and heat some canola oil. Add in your carrot, celery and onion and mix, season with salt. Allow to soften and cook, 2-3 minutes.


red wine being poured into the pot of diced carrots, celery, onions and herbed butter

Add in your herbed butter and mix. Continue to cook another 2-3 minutes and then add in your tomato paste, stir to combine and let cook another 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in your wine to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pot.


beef broth being poured into the pot over smoked lamb shoulder

Remove your lamb shoulder from the smoker at the one-hour mark and add it into your pot, pour in your beef broth and allow to simmer, about three hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Make sure to check on your lamb every hour and flip it over in the pot.


chopped yellow potatoes being added to a pot of boiling water

While your lamb shoulder cooks, make your mashed potatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Peel and cut your potatoes into quarters and add into the boiling water. Cook until softened.


chopped fresh sage being added to melted butter

Melt your butter and stir in the freshly chopped sage.


melted sage butter being poured over boiled potatoes in a bowl

Remove the potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add in the melted butter, mash your potatoes.


one egg yolk being added to the bowl of mashed potatoes

Add in one egg yolk and mash the potatoes to incorporate then add in the sour cream and mash to incorporate again. Set aside.



fresh peas being poured into the pot of braising smoked lamb

Once your lamb is done cooking, break apart in the pot. Add in your peas and mix. Allow to simmer another 10-15 minutes to reduce and for the peas to cook.


smoked and braised pulled lamb and peas being spooned into a small cast iron pan to build a Shepherd's pie

To build your shepherd’s pie, add a layer of lamb and peas to a heat proof container like a cast iron pan.


the smoked and braised lamb and peas is being topped with shredded cheddar cheese

Add a layer of shredded cheese and then a layer of mashed potatoes.


the Shepherd's pie has been topped with mashed potatoes and a fork is shown scoring the top

Score the top of the potatoes with a fork, season with salt, and place in the smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, you can do this step on your bbq on medium to medium-low heat with the cover closed. Cook 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.


the finished Shepherd's pie with a golden top and a spoonful being spooned out and revealing the lamb and peas on the inside

Remove from the smoker or bbq and let the shepherd’s pie cool slightly and then dig in!


And now for the full recipe...


Smoked Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4-6 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes


Ingredients:

4lbs boneless lamb shoulder

Alchemy Brown Rub

Canola oil

3 stalks celery

½ large carrot

½ large onion

70 ml tomato paste

½ cup red wine

2 cups beef broth

½ cup Fresh or frozen peas

½ cup Shredded cheddar cheese

8 small yellow potatoes

2 tbsp herbed butter, melted (garlic, rosemary, lemon zest)

1 tbsp sour cream

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp finely chopped sage

Salt

Pepper


How to Make Smoked Lamb Shepherd's Pie


Preheat your smoker to 275F.


Drizzle your lamb shoulder with canola oil and season with Alchemy Brown Rub. Place in the smoker for one hour.


After the lamb has been in the smoker for about half an hour to 40 minutes, start to prepare your mirepoix by finely chopping your carrot, celery and onion. Place a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on your plancha and heat some canola oil. Add in your carrot, celery and onion and mix, season with salt. Allow to soften and cook, 2-3 minutes. Add in your herbed butter and mix. Continue to cook another 2-3 minutes and then add in your tomato paste, stir to combine and let cook another 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in your wine to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any crispy bits from the bottom of the pot. Remove your lamb shoulder from the smoker at the one-hour mark and add it into your pot, pour in your beef broth and allow to simmer, about three hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Make sure to check on your lamb every hour and flip it over in the pot.


While your lamb shoulder cooks, make your mashed potatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Peel and cut your potatoes into quarters and add into the boiling water. Cook until softened. Melt your butter and stir in the freshly chopped sage. Remove the potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add in the melted butter, mash your potatoes. Add in one egg yolk and mash the potatoes to incorporate then add in the sour cream and mash to incorporate again. Set aside.


Once your lamb is done cooking, break apart in the pot. Add in your peas and mix. Allow to simmer another 10-15 minutes to reduce and for the peas to cook.


To build your shepherd’s pie, add a layer of lamb and peas to a heat proof container like a cast iron pan. Add a layer of shredded cheese and then a layer of mashed potatoes. Score the top of the potatoes with a fork, season with salt, and place in the smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, you can do this step on your bbq on medium to medium-low heat with the cover closed. Cook 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the smoker or bbq and let the shepherd’s pie cool slightly and then dig in!


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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!