Shepherd’s Pie with Beer Gravy

Shepherd's Pie with Beer Gravy | Sprig and Flours
Autumn is in full swing, and I am craving nothing but pies in all shapes and sizes. Last week’s obsession was a rich and hearty shepherd’s pie. 

The Irish pub that everyone at UC Davis loves, de Vere’s, serves the best shepherd’s pie. The meat filling is smothered in a dark, rich gravy that is absolutely divine. A fluffy, light blanket of mashed potatoes covers the filling, and the whole shebang is baked in the oven until the potatoes are light brown and toasty.

I have been trying to replicate this dish for the past two years and every time I make it, I get a little closer. I just couldn’t figure out what made de Vere’s gravy so rich. Finally, last weekend, I solved the mystery to the incredibly delicious gravy. 

The answer was beer – beer made the gravy decadent and added the extra depth of flavor I had been searching for! I was so excited the recipe was ready for the blog – I’ve made it twice in the last week. I hope you all enjoy this not-so-photogenic beauty!

Finally, happy apple picking season! Karl and I went last weekend (pictures posted here) and have been enjoying the fruits of labor in the form of apple crisp (recipe in the archives).

Shepherd's Pie with Beer Gravy | Sprig and FloursShepherd's Pie with Beer Gravy | Sprig and Flours Shepherd's Pie with Beer Gravy | Sprig and Flours

Shepherd's Pie with Beer Gravy
For the meat filling:
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery hearts, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ lbs ground beef (93% lean)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups beef broth
  • ½ cup stout beer (e.g. Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout)
  • ⅓ cup frozen peas
For the mashed potatoes:
  • 1½ lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the meat filling:
  1. In a large saute pan, heat up the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, carrots, and celery until soft, stirring often, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Add the ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste to the pan and use a spoon or spatula to break the meat up into small pieces. Stir and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat.
  3. Pour in the beef broth and beer. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken for about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas, then set aside.
For the mashed potatoes:
  1. Fill a 5-quart pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes. Boil for 13-15 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes in colander, then place in a large mixing bowl. Add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
To assemble:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pour the meat filling in a medium-size baking dish (about 4 quarts or 11 by 7-inch). Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top, or use a piping bag and pie the mashed potatoes over the top.
  3. Place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then serve.


One comment

  1. Anna N Uhlig says:

    I missed this recipe from last week. I’ll give it a try as Paul always loves the meat n potatoes entrees. I love the savory in any shape or form!

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