Home » Main Dishes » Hearty Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Gravy

Hearty Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Gravy

4.6 stars (70 ratings)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Make a hearty lamb shepherd’s pie with red wine gravy, tender lamb chunks, colorful vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes. Cook on the stovetop, then finish under the broiler for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. This comforting dish is ready in just over an hour, and it’s perfect for chilly weather and a warming fire.

Close up of lamb shepherds pie in a white bowl.

Homestyle Cooking at its Best

Meat and potatoes fans will LOVE this dish. Not only is it loaded with plenty of chunks of tender lamb, but the creamy mashed potatoes on top get golden brown and delicious. I’ve put my own spin on this dish using chunks of meaty lamb loin instead of ground meat, enhancing the gravy with herbs and a dash of red wine, and adding a colorful combination of orange, yellow, and purple carrots. It’s a dish anyone can make and that everyone will love!

In the US, shepherd’s pie is the catchall name for the classic dish of ground meat and vegetables in a rich gravy topped with mashed potatoes. However, in the UK, where this dish originated, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, while the beef version is called cottage pie. From a historical viewpoint, cottagers would be more likely to have access to beef while shepherds would have easier access to lamb. As a result, each got their own unique dish with it’s own unique name.

What You’ll Need

This list is long. I get that. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead of needing two or three recipes to fill your plate, this dish includes both your main entree and your vegetable side dishes in one hearty meal.

  • Lamb loin or shoulder – Instead of ground lamb, we are using lamb stew meat. Buy the chops or roast and butcher it yourself, or look for already cut lamb stew meat to cut down on your prep time.
  • Worcestershire sauce – It only takes a little bit to add so much flavor!
  • Carrots – I used a combination of orange, yellow, and purple carrots to give it a bit more color, but use what you can find or already have on hand.
  • Onion – My preference is a sweet white onion, but any yellow or white onion is fine.
  • Garlic – I like garlic, but if you love garlic feel free to add more.
  • Red wine – If you enjoy drinking it, then it’s also a good pick for cooking.
  • All-purpose flour – Used to thicken the gravy.
  • Beef stock – I use low or no-sodium beef broth or stock. If you are using a regular version, you may want to reduce the added salt. You can also use lamb stock if you can find it.
  • Frozen peas – Peas are flash frozen at peak freshness, it’s the ONLY vegetable I prefer frozen to fresh.
  • Fresh tarragon – Tarragon adds a really unique flavor to this dish. It’s my favorite herb to pair with lamb.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes – Yukon Gold mashed potatoes always turn out creamy and buttery.
  • Milk – The perfect milk for mashed potatoes is the one in your fridge, just don’t use anything that has been sweetened or flavored. My preference is whole, cow’s milk.
  • Heavy cream – A little bit goes a long way towards making your mashed potatoes extra-indulgent. It’s not an absolute requirement, but it’s my little secret for extra creamy potatoes.
  • Cooking oil – I like avocado oil because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil. Use the cooking oil you have on hand.
  • Salted Butter – Adds a buttery richness to both the gravy and the potatoes. If you use unsalted butter you may need to add an extra pinch of salt, but you may not. Taste and see!
  • Salt – The most important seasoning in your kitchen, salt helps all the flavors of the dish come alive. Rather than dumping in a larger quantity at once, we use smaller amounts as we build the dish. A perfectly salted dish should not taste salty, but full of flavor.
  • Pepper – A fairly universal spice, this recipe calls for pepper on the lamb and in mashed potatoes. Like with salt, adjust for taste as needed.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out my Amazon shop to see all of my recommended kitchen tools.

  • cutting board and sharp knife
  • medium sized saucepan (for the potatoes)
  • 4.5 quart Dutch oven or other large cooking pot (for the stew)
  • 3 quart casserole dish optional – I think it looks prettier on the table in a casserole dish, but you could finish the dish right in the Dutch oven.
  • wire whisk
  • potato masher
  • measuring spoons and measuring cups

How To Make This Lamb Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Think of making lamb shepherd’s pie like making a casserole with two layers, a layer of lamb stew and a layer of mashed potatoes. Below you’ll find the overview of the recipe, but for step by step instructions (with time management built in) scroll all the way down to the recipe card.

  • Marinate the lamb. This recipe uses a basic worcestershire sauce marinade. It adds lots of flavor in very little time.
  • Start the mashed potatoes. Chop the potatoes and get them boiling. You want them fork tender and ready to mash by the time you are done making the lamb stew.
  • Cook the vegetables. In a large Dutch oven cook the chopped onions and sliced carrots in cooking oil. Adding salt at this step gives it time to soak into the vegetables, creating a better flavor while using less salt overall. When they are almost done add the minced garlic, cook another minute, then remove the vegetables to a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
A glass baking dish filled with a mixture of lamb, carrots, and peas in a red wine gravy.
  • Brown the lamb. Working in batches brown the lamb, ensuring the chunks are browned on all sides, then set aside with the vegetables. Reserve any remaining marinade for the next step.
  • Make the gravy. Combine the red wine with the reserved marinade to deglaze the Dutch oven. Continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add butter, swirl to melt, then whisk in the flour. Cook 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add beef stock, whisking until smooth. Simmer to thicken.
  • Finish the lamb stew. Add the vegetable and meat mixture back into the gravy along with the tarragon and peas. Taste then adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Keep warm over low heat and preheat the broiler.
  • Make the mashed potatoes. Mash potatoes with a hand masher or stand mixer. Add milk, cream, and butter, combine well then add salt and pepper to taste.
A glass baking dish with lamb stew and a layer of mashed potatoes on top.
  • Assemble the shepherd’s pie. Transfer the vegetable and meat mixture to a casserole dish then spread potatoes in an even layer on top, smoothing them out as best as you can.
  • Broil. Place the lamb pie, uncovered, under the broiler until the potatoes brown. Broilers can be finicky, so check at 5 minutes and rotate the dish to prevent burning. 
  • Serve! The Shepherd’s Pie will be hot when you remove it from the oven. Allowing it to rest a few minutes before serving gives it a moment to cool and allows the gravy to thicken slightly.

Butchering the Lamb

Don’t be afraid to cut up your own lamb meat for this classic lamb pie. I love the tenderness of lamb loin chops, but if you buy bone-in lamb chops, you’ll need to purchase about 2 pounds to account for the bone weight.

Then, simply use a sharp knife to cut the meat away from the bones. Save the bones in a zipper-top plastic bag in your freezer to make lamb stock. Delicious!

Once the meat is away from the bone, simply cut it into bite-sized chunks.

You can do something similar with lamb shoulder to make this classic shepherd’s pie recipe. Just cut the meat away from the bone, remove any excess fat, then cut the meat into chunks.

To learn more about the different cuts of lamb and how they can be used, check out the Lamb Cutting Board from American Lamb.

Tips for Success

My family adores this dish, and I make it often. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to help you make it perfectly each and every time!

  • Prep everything ahead of time. Chefs call it mise en place when you have everything cut, trimmed, and measured ahead of time. This is important with this recipe because the dish moves along quickly once you start cooking. You won’t have time to stop and prep once you get started, so have it all ready to go.
  • Broil with caution. Make sure that whatever casserole dish you serve in can also be used safely under the broiler. Not all casserole dishes can take the very high and direct heat of the broiler.
  • Evaporate extra water from the potatoes. After you’ve drained the cooked potatoes, return them to the hot pot and set them back on the stove for a minute or two. This will help to evaporate some of the residual water so that your potato topping doesn’t end up watery.
  • Leftovers are even better! Like many stews, this easy shepherd’s pie recipe is even better the next day. Don’t be afraid of leftovers! Simply warm them up in the oven until heated through, and enjoy!
Overhead image of a serving of lamb shepherds pie in a white bowl next to a serving dish and a glass of wine.

Recipe Variations

As always, the best part about cooking for yourself is that you can alter the recipe to suit your own tastes or to use what you already have on hand. Here are some of my favorite swaps and substitutions for shepherd’s pie.

  • Make it authentic – An authentic version of lamb shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb in place of cubed lamb and it’s an easy swap that requires no additional changes to the recipe.
  • Make Cottage Pie – Swapping out the lamb for beef turns our shepherd’s pie into a cottage pie. Again, it’s a simple swap that doesn’t need any further changes for great results. Bite sized chunks or ground beef both work well.
  • Create your own meat mixture – Try making your pie with pork, turkey, or chicken. Small, bite sized chunks or ground meat both work well.
  • Change up the vegetables – Turnip, rutabaga, corn, and even parsnips can all be added to this hearty dish. Use the same quantity in volume to keep the same gravy to vegetable ratio.
  • Try different herbs – rosemary, thyme, and oregano all taste great with lamb and would work well in this dish.

Serving Suggestions

A lovely glass of red wine really complements this lamb pie – use whatever wine you added to the recipe, sharing the rest of the bottle with your guests.

Round out your meal with a simple tossed salad and buttery homemade brioche rolls, or just enjoy the hearty dish all on its own. At our house we serve it with a few extra dashes of worcestershire sauce right on top.

A serving dish of lamb shepherds pie with a serving removed.

How To Store And Reheat Lamb Shepherds Pie

Allow any leftovers to cool completely before putting them into the fridge. Cover tightly (a casserole dish with a lid comes in handy here) and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

To reheat any leftover Shepherd’s Pie, simply place portions in an oven-safe dish, cover and warm in a low 300ºF oven until heated through. Microwaving does work, but for even heating you’ll have mix the potatoes with the stew.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating and share it on your favorite social channel!

Close up of lamb shepherds pie in a white bowl.

Hearty Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Gravy

Make a hearty lamb shepherd's pie with red wine gravy, tender lamb chunks, colorful vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes. Cook on the stovetop, then finish under the broiler for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. This comforting dish is ready in just over an hour, and it's perfect for chilly weather and a warming fire.
4.6 stars (70 ratings)
prep: 1 hour
cook: 10 minutes
total: 1 hour 10 minutes
servings: 8

Ingredients

Lamb Marinade

  • 1 pound lamb loin or shoulder*
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Veggies & Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 1/4 cups diced carrots (10 ounces)
  • 1 cup diced onion (4.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (0.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon*

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes – chopped (6 – 8 medium potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Trim and chop lamb into bite sized pieces. Place in a medium sized mixing bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and set aside to marinate until step 4.
  • Place chopped potatoes in a medium sized pot. Cover with cold water by 1", cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Drop the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Stir in onions and carrots along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook 12 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots and onion have softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Remove the vegetables from the pan, placing in a medium sized mixing bowl. Increase the heat to medium-high then add the lamb to the dutch oven, reserving any remaining marinade. Brown the lamb on all sides then place the cooked lamb in the bowl with the vegetables.
  • Drop the heat back to medium. Mix the red wine with the reserved marinade and use to deglaze the dutch oven. (Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the tasty brown bits. as the wine cooks.) Continue to cook over medium until the wine is reduced by half.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the red wine. Swirl to melt then whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add in the beef stock, whisking constantly, until smooth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 minutes longer to thicken.
  • Carefully add the lamb and vegetables back into the gravy. Add the tarragon and peas. Taste then adjust salt and pepper if needed. Keep mixture warm over a low flame until step 10.
  • Preheat the broiler to high.
  • Mash the potatoes using a hand masher or stand mixer. Add in the milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Transfer the lamb and vegetable mixture to a casserole dish. Cover the lamb and vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes, smoothing out the top as best you can.
  • Place the pie, uncovered, under the broiler for 8 – 10 minutes or until the potatoes brown. Check at 5 minutes and rotate to prevent burning. 
  • Allow to cool 5 – 10 minutes prior to serving.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out my Amazon shop to see all of my recommended kitchen tools.

Notes

Please note:
*If you chose to use bone in lamb loin chops, you will need to purchase 2 lbs in order to have enough meat after removing it from the bone. Lamb shoulder also works well for this dish. If you can find lamb stew or kabob meat that is already trimmed, it will greatly reduce your prep time.
** If you can’t find fresh tarragon, you can substitute with 2 tsp of dried tarragon. This recipe also works with rosemary or thyme, if you prefer. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 592kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 26gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 628mgFiber: 9gSugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @reneenicoleskitchen or tag #reneenicoleskitchen!

More Hearty Family Meals

About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

More about Renee

49 Comments on “Hearty Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Gravy”

  1. Made this the first time just like instructions & it was fabulous! Next time I had ground lamb, frozen veggies, & frozen mashed potatoes…it was pretty damn good for a quick casserole on a working night! Just about 30 minutes from start to finish! I also like to add some red pepper flakes to the stew to give it a little bite! Great recipe!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Love how you switched it up with frozen ingredients and some red pepper flakes too. It brings me joy to know that you were able to take the recipe and make it your own!

      Reply
  2. This shepherds pie was really good!! Used 1lb of raw leg of lamb I had in freeer and multi colored carrots I had in frig but for potatoes used refrigerated prepared mash but it was all good.

    Reply
    • Beverly,

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe! I love when you can find swaps to make recipes uniquely yours and easier to get on the table. Refrigerated mashed potatoes for the win!! I have been known to make it with frozen mixed vegetables as well.

      Renee

      Reply
  3. This recipe turned out great, as I am cooking challenged it tuned out to be one of my successes. I followed the detailed directions but took a shortcut with refrigerated mashed potatoes, boneless leg of lamb I had on hand and the muti colored carrots that I also had. It took me a while but I did as Nicole said and had everything prepared before cooking and you can’t go wrong. Thanks

    Reply
  4. The lamb Shepards pie was delicious. Excellent flavor,
    detailed instructions. Would definitely make again. Of course we are big fans of lamb. I much prefer this recipe to using chop meat.

    Reply
  5. Hi! Is it possible to prep this recipe to the point that’s it’s in the casserole dish and ready for the oven, but then wait and finish it in the oven the next day?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yes! You can absolutely do that. Bake it in a 350º oven until it’s hot and bubbly (a meat thermometer to the center should read over 165º – probably about 20 – 35 minutes) then finish the top under the broiler. Don’t forget to place a baking sheet on the rack beneath it to catch any spills, in case it bubbles over.

      Side note: you can also make this into mini, single serve versions that you can freeze and then bake later from frozen, using the same instructions as above, allowing a bit more time for it to come up to temperature.

      Reply
    • @Renee N Gardner,

      Thank you for the fast reply! I love the idea of mini portions for freezing! I tried this recipe with no adaptations and it was wonderful.

      Reply
  6. Great looking recipe! I’m trying to be absolutely clear before I make this for my sweetie for Christmas dinner.
    Recipe says brown the lamb on all sides, and then put the cooked lamb in the bowl. My question is: is just thorough browning long enough, does it need more braising, what’s more detail to make sure the lamb is tender and done enough? My OCD is twitching!😆
    I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you. Have a great holiday!

    Reply
    • Hi Rick! Great question and I’m so glad to hear you are planning ahead instead of waiting until Christmas Day to find the answer. Bear with me, as the full answer is a bit long, but I think it should answer your questions and allay your concerns.

      Like most meat pies, you can use a variety of cuts of meat and you are right that you may need to adjust the cooking time for the perfect results. A leaner cut, like tenderloin (my choice for this recipe), is going to cook quickly, while a tougher cut, like shoulder, needs a bit more time to tenderize.

      The browning step is for just browning. No matter which cut you have chosen, put it in a hot pan and get some color on it. At this phase worry less about whether the inside is cooked and tender, and more about the outside getting a little bit of a crust. This crusty bit is going to end up adding a lot of flavor to the final result both through the crust on the meat and through the fond left in the pan.

      The time to worry about the tenderness of the meat is after you have gone through the remaining steps to build your stew, but before you top it with the mashed potatoes. While the tenderloin can move quickly from stew to potato topping to the broiler, a pie made with shoulder may benefit from simmering as a stew for a little longer to help the meat tenderize.

      Since you are starting with bite sized chunks, they will cook very quickly. I often find that the meat easily gets to 125º just by browning and rises to 135º (medium rare) in the time it takes for everything to come together and do it’s thing under the broiler. A couple extra minutes at the simmer step will easily get that temp up to 145º (the USDA’s recommended safe temperature). If you prefer the meat to be more done, just let it simmer a few extra minutes before topping it with the potatoes. The only way to know for sure is to check the temperature with a meat thermometer and check the texture by stealing a taste test (which you should be doing anyway so that you can adjust the seasonings as needed) before topping with the potatoes and broiling.

      I hope this helps clear things up! If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas meal with your sweetie!

      Reply
    • Ground lamb will cook a bit faster, but I’d treat it the same as the stew pieces. Cook it a little more thoroughly, since it’s ground, but overall it may save you some time and it’s probably a cheaper cut. Good luck! (Not that I think you will need it!)

      Renee

      Reply
  7. I’ve been looking for a recipe for my leftover leg of lamb roast from Easter for years. This worked perfectly, with a few modifications for using already cooked lamb. We had it tonight, and it was great. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Gasp! You write about discarding the lamb bones. I collect lamb bones and scraps in a tough plastic bag in my freezer (also beef bones in a separate bag). When I have enough to fill a pot I boil them with an onion and soup celery to make my own stock/broth. So I would use lamb stock instead of beef stock in your recipe.

    I love what you have done here. I plan to try parsnips for more flavour than carrots.

    Reply
    • Alan you are so right to call me out about this. Those bones should be set aside for stock, not actually discarded. I currently have three types of chicken stock, lamb stock, and pork stock in my freezer, so I’m no stranger to making it homemade. If you want another for suggestion to amp up the flavor try blending the mash with half celery root (aka celeriac). If you like parsnips, I think you’ll love the celery root.

      Renee

      Reply
  9. Made this for early Easter dinner with boneless leg of lamb. I took some liberties with the recipe as my son does it with slower cooking in the oven.

    Reply
  10. I used this, modified (no beer), but sadly no one warned me in the recipes about prepping the chopped lamb ahead of time, to avoid the gamey smell! Lesson learned. I’ve never had that problem with ground lamb. It’s a common issue apparently. Tasted great though, just really smelled up the house 🙁

    Reply
    • Oh no!! I personally haven’t had the problem with the lamb smelling gamey, so thank you for the warning! I hope the flavor was worth it and the not so nice smell cleared out of your home quickly.

      Reply
  11. 5 stars
    I can’t even remember when was the last time I tried Shepherd’s pie. Your beautiful pics made me craving it again. Badly!

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Sounds like a great comfort meal! I’ve actually never made shepherds or cottage pie but I would love to try your spin on this one!

    Reply
  13. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe and so many helpful tips, thanks so much! I love the sound of using proper lamb loin pieces rather than minced lamb, it just sounds so much more nourishing and delicious!

    Reply
  14. Added a half a tablespoon of paprika (used rosemary and thyme). And grated some Roma cheese on top. Cut the butter and salt by a third, and deleted the half and half. Delicious. Thanks!

    Reply
  15. I had no idea that Shepherd’s Pie traditionally uses lamb! I bet it’s a lot more flavorful than its ground beef counterpart 😉 Looking forward to trying your version!

    Reply
    • @Renee Sitavich, oops my last message has nothing in it, sorry. I wanted to ask you for how long do I need to marinate the lamb?

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • The lamb only needs to marinate a few minutes. Marinating is the first step so that it’s good to go by the time you get to the cooking step in the recipe. From personal experience, I can also tell you that if you chop up the lamb, get it marinating, then end up with a medical emergency that doesn’t let you get back to it for 2 days, it gets a more pronounced flavor from the extended marinating time.

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

If you love this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating along with your comment. Star ratings make it easier for people to find my recipes online. Thank you for all the love and support!

Sincerely,

Recipe Rating