If you see Connemara lamb on the menu in Ireland, don’t pass it up, for it is favored in the restaurants around County Galway. The raw flesh is a dark ruddy color, with small striations of fat. The lamb are hardy, feeding on mountain herbs and grasses as they run free on the lush green slopes of the Connemara countryside.
This recipe is adapted from The Country Cooking of Ireland (Chronicle Books, 2009).
“Several years ago, two prominent West Cork food personalities—writer and TV host Clodagh McKenna and her friend the culinary historian Regina Sexton—got together and decided to come up with the ultimate shepherd’s pie recipe. This was the result.” –Colman Andrews
- 2 t. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 1/2 carrots, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs. lamb, minced or ground
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 c. hot beef or lamb stock or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 4 c. freshly made mashed potatoes
- 1 T. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175c.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are soft but not browned.
Raise the heat to high, add the lamb, and cook until well browned. Stir in the tomato paste and mustard, then add the stock. Reduce the heat to low, season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the stock is mostly but not completely evaporated.
Transfer the meat mixture to a round or rectangular ovenproof baking dish. Cover the meat with mashed potatoes, flattening the top with a knife. (Make a wave or crosshatch pattern in the top of the potatoes, if you like.) Brush the top with melted butter, then bake for 50 minutes.