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Best shepherd’s pie recipe: leftover roast lamb

Image - Shepherd's pie made with leftover roast lamb

Image - Shepherd's pie made with leftover roast lamb

As a small child I remember watching my mum mince cold roast lamb using an old metal mincer that was screwed onto the kitchen table. It was magical to watch big pieces of lamb turning into mince. I assume that she was making shepherd’s pie back then. Danny has similar memories too, standing in his big Irish kitchen, watching the mincer in operation – the air full of the smell of freshly baked soda bread.

That’s why we both thought that we had to mince our leftover roast lamb to make a shepherd’s pie. Wrong!

Thank goodness I had a furtle about on the Internet and discovered that a lot of people just cut up their lamb into bite sized pieces. The feedback was pretty good for using this method so I thought that I’d give it a go myself.

The resulting pie was absolutely out of this world. Unbelievably good and so much better than a pie made with minced cooked lamb.

I cooked the entire pie on the hob, to save heating up the oven and browned the top under the grill/broiler. I also added butter to the boiled potatoes before putting them through the potato ricer – this worked really well and saved a lot of time faffing around mixing in butter and cream.

Best shepherd’s pie recipe for 2-3 greedy people
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 3
  • For the filling:
  • 300g (1 1/3 cups) of cold roast lamb cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 small red onion – peeled and chopped
  • 1 very fat garlic clove chopped fine or 1 tsp of garlic granules
  • 3 tinned plum tomatoes (no juice)
  • 2 celery stalks sliced very fine
  • 2 large carrots – washed peeled and chopped into 1cm squares
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 450ml (2 cups) of hot lamb stock – I used 2 lamb stock cubes
  • For the topping:
  • 500g (1 pound) of potatoes
  • Walnut sized knob of butter
  • A handful of grated cheddar for the top (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté or large frying pan, add the chopped onions and stir well. Let the onions soften (lid on) for ten minutes or so until they become translucent.
  2. Add the celery and carrots and stir well. Let them cook gently (lid on) for five minutes or so.
  3. Add the garlic, thyme, tinned tomatoes and sprinkle over the flour. Stir all the ingredients well and gradually add the hot stock, stirring well (with particular attention to the base of the pan).
  4. Let all the ingredients simmer gently in the pan for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then. The carrots should be cooked but not too soft. Add a little more stock if the sauce is too thick.
  5. Meanwhile wash, peel and roughly chop your potatoes. When these are cooked add the butter, leave them in a warm place lid on.
  6. When the filling is cooked add the lamb pieces and red wine and stir well until the filling starts to simmer again. Put a lid on the pan and remove it from the heat to allow the lamb to heat through for about five minutes. This is the stage when I put the potatoes through the ricer.
  7. Pour the filling into a warm pie dish, cover with the mashed potatoes. Fork the mashed potatoes into small ridges and cover with a sprinkle of grated cheddar. Put the pie under a preheated grill to brown the top.
  8. Serve on warm plates with a green vegetable such as peas or beans.

  Leave a reply


  1. L Haydon

    I made a shepherds pie with my left over lamb can I freeze what is over as the meat has been cooked twice .

  2. rupert style

    That was a great dinner, thanks for your website

  3. Liza Thomas

    Oh Fiona where are you? No posts for 4 days… I hope everything is ok! Eagerly awaiting your next post.

  4. Oh Yum that looks and sounds wonderful. Winter is heading down under, there is a definite chill in the air and I can’t wait to have a big roast lamb, my favourite roast, and then make your recipe for Shepherds Pie. Thanks

  5. Thank you, I’ll keep you posted. I often have a bit of roast left that’s not enough for a meal, so this looks like a good way to use it!

  6. It sounds wonderful, but I’m afraid I’m not a lamb fan. Do you think the same recipe would work with beef roast and stock?

    • Fiona Nevile

      HI Julie

      Yes I think that it would work equally well with roast beef or even roast pork. If you do try either of these I’d be interested in your feedback – whatever the result as it would be of value to us and all our readers.

  7. Magic Cochin

    My Mum had a mincer too 🙂 Have you ever minced horseradish? Woooah!!!!!

    Love the recipe card widget!


  8. I have been making shepherds pie this way for some time and all agree that the chunky lamb is lovely. As it happened I made a couple of pies yesterday with the left overs of Sundays roast shoulder. Another trick I have discovered by accident is that if you are going to freeze said pie it is easier to add the mash to the frozen pie mix then allow to defrost and reheat as usual…

  9. Ohh that sounds delicious and another comfort food that I love. It is funny how we tend to continue to do the old favourites just the way our Mums and Grannies did, I must admit I hadn’t thought about using diced lamb before. I do like the new printer friendly cookery card Fiona. A fantastic idea you are so clever.

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