Shepherd's Pie with Blue & Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes
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Shepherd's Pie with Blue & Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes


  • 3 large or 4 medium russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lb.)

  • 8 slices meaty bacon

  • Salt

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • ½ cup chopped fresh chives or finely chopped scallions

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • Finely ground white or black pepper

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 ½ lb. ground lamb or beef

  • Coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, chopped

  • 1 stalk celery with leafy top, chopped

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tbsp. sun-dried or regular tomato paste

  • ½ cup frozen peas

  • 1 cup crumbled smoked blue cheese (I like



    >) or regular blue cheese

  • 2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar (8 oz.)

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, smoked or regular paprika, and hot honey (I like Mike’s), for topping


  • Step 1

    Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400°.

  • Step 2

    Peel the potatoes and cut each into about twelve 3/4-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  • Step 3

    Arrange the bacon on a slotted broiler pan or a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until very crispy, 15 to 18 minutes. Preheat the broiler.

  • Step 4

    When the water comes to a boil, salt it liberally. Cook the potatoes until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the hot pot. Add the milk, chives, and sour cream; season with salt and finely ground white or black pepper. Mash the potatoes. Chop the bacon and mix half into the potatoes. Cover the pot to keep warm.

  • Step 5

    While the potatoes are boiling and the bacon is baking, heat the olive oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high in a large skillet. Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, carrot, and celery; season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock, garlic, thyme, Worcestershire, and tomato paste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

  • Step 6

    Transfer the filling to a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, then both cheeses. Broil the casserole until bubbly and browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Top with the parsley, paprika, and the remaining bacon. Drizzle with the hot honey.

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