Holiday Shepherd's Pie

shepards pie done

Holiday Shepherd’s Pie

CHEF’S NOTES: Shepperd’s pie is known as a hearty Irish dish that can be made in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day but living in the Midwest, I have made it a go-to winter comfort food dish around the holidays. Generally, we have fresh venison as well as carrots, potatoes and herbs we harvested from our garden so this the perfect recipe utilizing the resources we have around our house. Regardless of where you get your ingredients, this is a perfect hearty holiday meal that is a big hit with friends and family.



Shepherd's Pie

  • 2 lb. ground venison
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped*
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)*
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • 2 cups venison, chicken or beef stock
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Cooking oil

Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 lb. potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup cream, milk, or salted water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 green onion, sliced (optional)


Any ground wild game



Dutch oven, casserole dish or cast iron skillet


Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Preheat a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil, or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is hot, brown the ground venison. Work in batches if needed. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add an additional splash of oil to the pan if needed, then drop in the chopped onions. Sauté for a couple minutes, and when the onions start to brown, add the carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 5-10 minutes, or until the carrots begin to soften. Add the peas and minced garlic. Cook an additional minute.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and mix until combined. Next, sprinkle in the flour and stir.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Season with kosher salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Return the ground venison to the pan and mix well.
  6. Turn the heat to medium to bring the liquids to a simmer. Cook until the mixture reduces and thickens to an almost gravy-like consistency.
  7. If the pan is large enough to layer the mashed potatoes on top you can keep it in this dish; otherwise, transfer the meat into a large baking dish. Use a spatula and spread the mashed potatoes across the top.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or longer until the potatoes begin to brown. Serve warm.


Mashed Potatoes

  1. Add the chopped potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in several pinches of kosher salt to season the water. Cook the potatoes until very soft.
  2. Strain the potatoes and reserve half a cup of the boiling water to use instead of cream if desired.
  3. Mash or run the potatoes through a ricer. Pour in either the salted water, milk, or cream. Add the butter and sliced green onion and stir until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Last, stir in the egg yolk until well mixed.
  4. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the venison mixture before baking.


*Note: You can substitute the fresh onion and carrots with a frozen bag of mixed vegetables.