Shepherd’s Pie with Scalloped Carrots, Celery and Caraway Seeds

I used to make this a lot back in the days when I had time to cook at this time of year.  Those days are back again!  Of course, when I used to make this in March, the weather was behaving in a more March-like manner.  It must be cold enough to make this somewhere right?  So I am going to go ahead and post it even though I wore a sleeveless dress to school the other day.  Despite the weird weather, we are really still in winter and at least here, all of the “Spring” vegetables are coming from far, far away.

So, last week I made my shepherd’s pie recipe for the first time in years and years.  I still like it!  I created my ideal shepherd’s pie recipe when I was asked to cook it for my friends’ wedding in 1998…or sometime around then.   We made a lot of it.   I was also in charge of the desert…which I totally messed up…but this shepherd’s pie was perfect!

I got the recipe for Scalloped Carrots and Celery with Caraway Seeds from some mediocre vegetarian cookbook that I got rid of after copying out this one excellent recipe.  This recipe is so simple, and made with such humble ingredients, that it is hard to imagine how it manages to be so delicious.  It is the perfect side dish for shepherd’s pie.

ERIN’S SHEPHERD’S PIE (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup whole plain yogurt
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 lb onions, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 3/4 cup meat stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • green peas
  • grated sharp cheddar (or aged gouda)
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and cut them into quarter.  boil the potatoes in the water until they are tender.  When they have cooled a bit, slip them out their skins and mash them with the butter.  When they are smooth, stir in the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside
  3. In a wide, lidded skillet, heat the oil over medium-low flame.  Add the onions and celery, reduce the heat to low and stew with the lid on for a few minutes.  The onions should be translucent.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the lamb and salt.  Cook the meat until it is broken up into a very fine texture (sometimes it helps to use a fork or  potato masher to break the meat up).  
  5. Add the mustard powder, black pepper and thyme and continue cooking until the meat begins to brown and sizzle.
  6. Add the stock and the red wine, turn up the heat to high and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the browned meat bits into the gravy. When the stock and wine is reduced by half, add the tomato paste, some peas and the Worcestershire sauce.  Cook the mixture for a few minutes to let the flavours combine while you pre-heat the oven to 350
  7. Pour the meat into a deep casserole (or six individual ramekins).  Top the meat with a thick layer of the potatoes and sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.
  8. Bake until the cheese is melted.  You can make the scalloped carrots and celery while it bakes!
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 cups celery sliced thin, on a diagonal
  • 3 cups carrots sliced thin, on a diagonal
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (home-made if you’ve got it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  1. Saute the onion in butter until it is just translucent
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the caraway seed).  Cover the pan and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  The sauce should thicken and coat the vegetables.
  4. Add the caraway seed and serve!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Mona Banek says:

    Today, St Patrics Day, it snowed in Kamloops! Unheard of. Lots of wet heavy snow. I love shepards pie too.

    1. See! I knew that it was cold enough for Shepards pie somewhere!

  2. Glenda Berry says:

    Making this for the neighbourhood holiday potluck tomorrow!

  3. Glenda says:

    Making this for dinner tonight. It’s a favorite for fall. Substituting yellow and orange peppers for the carrots in the scalloped dish. ❤️

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