Nigel’s Lamb Shank Shepherd’s Pie

6 servings
45 min prep time
06 hrs 30 min total time

The ultimate in comfort food, we love this lamb shank shepherd's pie recipe from New England Open House Cookbook. Braised lamb shanks are layered with savory vegetables and topped with velvety potatoes for a warm & hearty dinner. 

Ingredients

Braised Lamb Shank

4 (1 pound each) lamb shanks

Sea salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns

2 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil

1 1/2 cups robust red wine

8 to 9 cups beef or veal stock or broth, homemade or store-bought

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into sixths

4 cloves garlic, peeled

6 (3 inches long) sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Vegetable Layer

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/4 cups frozen peas

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mashed Potatoes

3 large Maine or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) Vermont Creamery Unsalted Cultured Butter - 86% Butterfat at room temperature

1/2 cup Vermont Creamery Mascarpone

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces freshly shredded extra-sharp Vermont cheddar cheese

Directions

  • STEP 1

    Season lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot. Sear lamb shanks on all sides, 8-10 minutes until evenly browned on all sides. Remove lamb shanks from pot. Add 1/2 cup of the red wine; cook, scraping bottom of pot to release any browned bits clinging to it, 1-2 minutes. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour in enough beef or veal stock or broth to cover shanks. Add onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Let come to a simmer; cover pot with a lid placed slightly ajar. Cook lamb shanks at a gentle simmer over medium-low, heat 3-4 hours or until meat is tender and falling-off-the-bone.

  • STEP 2

    Remove lamb shanks from pot and set them aside. Strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pot. Discard the solids. Add remaining 1 cup of red wine and let come to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until reduced to 2 cups of liquid, about 30 minutes. If time allows, let the reduced braising liquid cool, then refrigerate it, covered so that the fat may be more easily skimmed off the top and discarded. Cover the lamb shanks and refrigerate them separately. The lamb shanks will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.

  • STEP 3

    Prepare the vegetable layer: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and almost tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add peas, stirring to mix evenly with the other vegetables, and then remove skillet from heat. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

  • STEP 4

    Make the mashed potato topping: Place a steamer basket in a large pot and add enough water to come to the base of the basket. Layer potato and sweet potato chunks in steamer basket. Cover the pot, and steam over medium-high heat 20-25 minutes or until tender. Transfer hot potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer on medium-low, beat the hot potatoes until coarsely mashed. Beat in butter and mascarpone, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy, 1 to 11/2 minutes. Season mashed potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

  • STEP 5

    Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  • STEP 6

    Remove meat from lamb shanks, shredding it into bite-size chunks, and discarding the bones. Scatter shredded lamb evenly over bottom of a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish that is at least 2 inches deep. Spread vegetable mixture evenly over lamb. Skim any fat off the top of the reduced cooking liquid, then pour it over vegetables and lamb. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over top. Scatter cheddar cheese over the mashed potatoes.

  • STEP 7

    Bake shepherd’s pie 40-45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and top is lightly browned and crusted. Let shepherd’s pie cool for a few minutes before serving it in wide, shallow bowls.