Bibby's Shepherd's pie

In my cooking classes, I’m  often asked about the difference between Shepherd’s pie and Cottage Pie. Growing up, I remember my mother making cottage pie but Shepherd’s pie was a rarity. Traditionally, cottage pie is made with ground beef, while Shepherd’s pie uses lamb. In our home, lamb was a luxury and reserved for special occasions. Whenever I make roast lamb, either for Easter or Christmas, I put just enough lamb aside to make a Bibby’s Shepherd’s pie. The savoury flavour of the rich gravy is balanced by the sweet fattiness of the lamb and mashed potato topping.

Bibby's Shepherd's pie

Food in the 70’s was cheap and cheerful which meant that lamb rarely made it onto our dinner table, let alone into a pie! Forty years later, I’m married to a Liverpudlian and so, Shepherd’s pie was bound to make it onto the menu. I had no family recipe to reference, so this is my take on it. I make it with brown sauce and Worcestershire. It’s deeply savoury and completely delicious. We’ve called it the Bibby’s Shepherd’s pie.

For the pie, you’re going to need the leftovers from a Sunday lunch lamb roast. If you don’t have a go-to lamb recipe, this lamb shawarma is one the most popular meat recipes I posted when I first started this food blog. The choice of vegetables depends on what you have in the fridge. I use this as a general clear the fridge cook, with leeks, carrots, celery, mushrooms and whatever else I find in the veggie draw. Frozen peas are a must, though. No decent Shepherd’s pie should be without these greens. Piped mash is a little fancy but fun. Piled on will do just as nicely.

Bibby's Shepherd's pie

Bibby’s Shepherd’s pie

Serves 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 stems celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sauce (I use good old HP sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups weak beef stock
  • 2 cups (about 400g) left over cooked lamb, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour dissolved in 30ml cold water
  • 3/4 cup peas (petit pois are lovely and sweet)
  • 2 cups prepared mashed potato
  • flat leaf parsley, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 200º C and grease a 2 litre baking dish.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the rosemary, tomato paste, Worcestershire, HP sauce, mustard and beef stock. Bring the sauce up the boil, then add the lamb. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  4. Add the cornflour slurry and simmer to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the peas.
  5. Transfer the meat filling to a baking dish and top with mashed potato. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Scatter over a handful of freshly chopped parsley and serve with some extra brown sauce or tomato sauce on the side.




22 Comments. Leave new

  • Moyahabo Pitikoe
    5 April 2016 7:50 am

    Kids what age Di? You are so funny.
    This is a brilliant idea.
    Worth a try.

  • Any suggestions for cooking lamb and what type in no leftover lamb? Thanks

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 April 2016 3:22 pm

    Hi Cheryl. A leg of lamb roast or shanks are ideal. If you need a recipe, you could follow my lamb shawarma post which I did for Easter. It’s under the meat category. A long, slow oven roast is best for this dish. Hope that helps?

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 April 2016 3:25 pm

    According to my critics, there’s never enough potatoes! Miss cooking with you!

  • What is HP sauce ? In the US and I’m assuming it’s a gravy ??

  • Dianne Bibby
    19 July 2016 4:30 pm

    Hello Bonnie. HP sauce is a British staple. It’s a deeply savoury condiment that can be used to enrich stews and pies, almost like a cold gravy, as you say. Hope you find something similar there.

  • Hester Hill
    29 July 2016 12:49 pm

    The karoo butchers will be thrilled about this cottage pie and so are all the bibbyskitchen fans -such as this boeremeisie !
    Fan from the West Rand

  • Dianne Bibby
    7 August 2016 7:10 pm

    It’s quite a favourite here too with the meat-lovers!

  • Maryann Atlas
    4 January 2017 12:24 am

    Can I ask what is 30ml???

  • Dianne Bibby
    9 January 2017 7:09 am

    Hi Maryann. 30ml is equal to 2 tablespoons. Hope that helps.

  • Tried this today, absolutely scummy. Put a tiny bit of grated cheese in potato.

  • Dianne Bibby
    15 May 2017 6:47 pm

    Great idea, Lynne. There are few things that don’t benefit from a little extra cheesiness. I’ll definitely throw in a handful too next time. Thanks for stopping in.

  • This tastes delicious! I followed your recipe exactly (A-1 substitute works!!!j. Thank you. This is a keeper

  • This was the best Shepherd’s Pie I’ve ever made! I’m so excited to find this recipe. We had left over lamb from a Christmas roast. Thanks

  • I think it’s similar to steak sauce on the us. I’ll be using A1 or pick-a-pepper, whichever is in my fridge yo make this tonight.

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 January 2018 3:48 pm

    I’m sure it’ll work just as well.

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 January 2018 3:57 pm

    Wow! That’s the best news Kathleen. I get really excited whenever there’s leftovers. Hope it becomes one of those back pocket recipes that you’ll use again and again.

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 January 2018 4:03 pm

    You’re most welcome. Thanks for letting us know Wendy. There’ve been a number of queries as to a suitable substitute for the HP sauce. A-1 it is then.

  • So delicious!!!! You can get HP Sauce in the British food isle at most supermarkets .

  • Dianne Bibby
    4 August 2019 4:43 pm

    Thanks Billy. My husband is from the UK so we always have a bottle or two on hand. He loves it!

  • I’m in the US and used Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce and it tasted great! Love this recipe!

  • Dianne Bibby
    4 October 2019 6:30 am

    Glad to hear you’ve found an alternative to HP sauce. I’m sure there are really great ones to choose from in the States. This recipe is a huge house favourite. If I’m doing a Sunday roast, chances are there’s going to be pie on Monday.

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