Since it’s Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I’ve been on an Irish and Irish-American food kick. Colcannon got its own post a couple of days ago. Before that was Make-Ahead Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Guinness Irish Stew made an appearance a few weeks ago.
Long story short, it has been one long streak of comfort food, and I’ve been hitting the running paths a little more avidly than in previous months.
Making Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd’s Pie
Lamb or beef?
You can absolutely substitute ground beef for the lamb if you prefer. In that case, you’ll be making cottage pie. As you’re no doubt aware, shepherds herd sheep, thus lamb in the traditional dish. I love the richness that lamb brings to the dish, but it can be on the pricey side here in the States.
Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd’s Pie has a lot of moving parts, but (1) you can prep all of the veggies in advance and (2) you can work on making the filling while the potatoes are boiling for the colcannon. You can make the filling, colcannon, or both 1–2 days in advance. You can also assemble the pie and store it the refrigerator the day before you plan to bake it (just cover it with plastic wrap).
Assembling and baking
One note about the colcannon topping: for the purposes of taking a photo that would capture the essence of my Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd’s Pie, I did not spread the colcannon to the edges of the baking dish: you can see that the filling did bubble up in spots. You can prevent this by spreading the colcannon all the way to the edges with a silicone spatula and making a seal all around the edges. (We use a baking sheet to catch any spills, so it’s not a disaster either way.)
I used a 2-qt. oval baking dish for this pie (that equates to 8×8; my dish appears in these photos. I’ve added a link to a similar dish on Amazon below the recipe). You can use a 3-qt (9×13) dish, but don’t use anything larger.
Do be sure to let the Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd’s Pie rest for at least 10 minutes before serving: otherwise, it will be quite like eating lava. I like to sprinkle the dish with sliced scallions and parsley, then let everyone dish their serving into a bowl. This dish is perfect for eating with a spoon (this is not like a typical pie in which everything holds together).
I hope that you’ll enjoy this hearty comfort food as much as we do! Tomorrow, they’ll be dyeing the Chicago River green. Yes, really. However YOU celebrate the holiday, happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you and yours!
I’ll link my Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd’s Pie up with these link parties:
- #CookBlogShare, a great food blogger recipe-share at Hijacked by Twins.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- #RecipeOfTheWeek hosted by A Mummy Too.
- #BrillBlogPosts (coming soon!), a link party with a variety of lifestyle reads hosted by Honest Mum.
Guinness-Colcannon Shepherd's Pie is as comforting as comfort food gets. The rich gravy gets a ton of flavor from Guinness, herbs...and a couple of flavor-building hacks. The dish is topped with flavorful colcannon and baked until golden and bubbly.
- 1.5 lb Yukon gold potatoes (or other medium-starch potatoes)
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 cups green cabbage, finely shredded, with shreds cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 leek (white and light green part only), cut in half lengthwise and sliced into fine half-rings
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, but you can use whatever kind you like)
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (for serving)
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chiffonaded
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 large onion, cut into small dice
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup Guinness (I used canned Guinness Draft Stout)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
Fill a 7–8 qt. pot 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil gently until a knife slips in and out of the potato pieces without any resistance (15–20 min).
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks; sauté until softened, but not brown. Add the garlic. Sauté an additional minute. Add the cabbage; stir to combine. Lid the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft. Remove from heat.
When the potatoes are soft, drain well and return to the pot. Add the butter and stir to combine. After the butter has melted, add the sour cream and milk. Mash to desired consistency with a potato masher (don't worry about getting every lump out: you won't notice them with the cabbage). Add the cabbage and leek mixture along with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sauté, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until browned, 3–5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are soft, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic; sauté an additional minute. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables; stir to combine and sauté for 1 minute. Add in the tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and fish sauce. Sauté for an additional minute. Return the lamb to the pot and add the Guinness and beef broth.
Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced down to a thick gravy, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the frozen peas and corn kernels.
Preheat oven to 400º. Pour the filling into a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon the colcannon on top of the filling, beginning at the edges. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the colcannon over the filling and out to the sides of the dish to make a seal (this keeps the filling from bubbling up and out).
Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for ~25 minutes, or until the colcannon is golden-brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and parsley; serve.
The colcannon and filling can be prepared and refrigerated 1–2 days in advance; you can also assemble the pie the day before you plan to bake it, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Related tools on Sur La Table (affiliate)
|silicone spatula||collapsible colander||baking sheet||Dutch oven|
Other ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day
|Make-ahead Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage: is prepared a day in advance to ensure tender, juicy corned beef rather than the shoe-leather-tough meat that results far too often from 8-hour crockpot methods.|
|Best-Ever Melty Reuben Sandwiches: these are practically mandatory in my house after the requisite Corned Beef and Cabbage-fest on St. Paddy’s day. They’re easy to put together and oh-so-melty-good.|
|Make-ahead Irish Guinness Stew: the perfect comfort food for celebrating Saint Paddy’s Day. Make it in advance in the oven or crockpot for an easy meal during the busy workweek.|
|Irish Colcannon with Cabbage and Leeks gets a flavor infusion from aromatics (leeks and garlic) and sour cream for tangy creaminess. Eat it as a delicious side dish, or as a topping for shepherd’s pie or lamb stew.|