Corned Beef Shepherd’s Pie

For the first year in a long time, I did not do my usual DIY Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day. The continued time warp caused by COVID, combined with yet another home renovation project that has just begun at our house, has left me a little flustered and out of my routine. So, there’s that, plus a discovery that I made in our freezer.

Last year, we did two huge briskets in my homemade corned beef brine—one was fated to be a classic corned beef with cabbage and carrots, and the other went the extra mile to become smoked pastrami—and I recently uncovered not one, but two packages of said meat that have been hiding in the depths of our freezer drawer. I couldn’t justify making more until we finished what we already had, but what does one do with a pound of vacuum-sealed, sliced corned beef, other than the obvious sandwiches?

I love cooking up fun foods for special occasions, and shepherd’s pie is a classic for St. Patrick’s Day. A typical shepherd’s pie is made with ground meat (usually lamb or beef), peas, carrots and mashed potato topping. But I could not pass over the entire St. Pat’s celebration without the old standby of corned beef and cabbage. Last year, I shared my recipe for colcannon (which I also love), so I whipped up a new batch of that as my pie topper, and I picked up two fun (and Irish) ingredients to give the colcannon extra body and a boost of sharp flavor. Irish white cheddar was a no-brainer, and when I sought out a package of Irish butter (which I only splurge on this time of year), this embellished version jumped right into my basket!

This is how they make Irish butter even better!

Well, that was lucky! Butter that is already flavored with fresh herbs would make this dish even quicker to prepare.

I channeled my grandmother a little bit in making this dish. She was the absolute queen of leftovers, a real whiz at transforming a random thing from the freezer into a full-blown meal that had leftovers of its own. The shepherd’s pie was delicious, perfectly festive for the occasion, and finally helped me use up the frozen corned beef that I forgot I had.

If you’re staring down your own corned beef leftovers, give this dish a go. If you happen to have leftover cabbage and carrots, or leftover mashed potatoes, too—well, you’re way ahead of the game.

A shepherd’s pie is a fun way to revisit the classic flavors of corned beef and cabbage, and this reheats beautifully, even in the microwave.

Ingredients

There are three specific components to this easy dish, and I’ll break down the ingredients list and instructions accordingly. Follow along with the slides and scroll to the end of the post for a downloadable version you can print or save for your recipe files.

Corned Beef & Cabbage Filling

2 Tbsp. garlic and herb Irish butter

1/2 small head green cabbage, chopped

1 cup baby carrots, cut into bite-size chunks

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 lb. leftover corned beef, sliced or cubed

Melt the butter in a large sauce pot or skillet. Sauté the carrots, onion and cabbage until the onions are translucent and the cabbage is soft. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a glass 8×8 oven-safe casserole dish. Set aside, adding the corned beef later when you are ready to assemble the dish.


Colcannon with Irish Cheddar

1 lb. peeled potatoes, cut and cooked until tender (I used 50/50 russet and Yukon gold)

2 Tbsp. garlic and herb Irish butter

1 leek, cleaned and sliced into half-moon shapes

1/2 small head green cabbage, sliced thin

A fat handful of baby spinach leaves, rough chopped

1 cup shredded Irish white cheddar

Get the potatoes cooking (don’t forget to season the water with a generous pinch of salt!) and drain them when they reach fork-tender stage.

Meanwhile, melt butter in the same sauce pot or skillet used for the corned beef and cabbage filling. Add the leeks and cabbage and cook until tender (season them). Turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pan. Toss it around to wilt the spinach. When the mixture is somewhat cool, add it to the cooked potatoes and mash them together. Stir in the white cheddar and set aside.


Gravy

2 Tbsp. garlic and herb Irish butter

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or beef broth)

2 tsp. beef base (optional, to boost beef flavor if using veg broth)

Melt the butter in the same skillet and add flour, whisking until the mixture is foamy with a slightly nutty aroma. Whisk in broth, cooking and stirring until the mixture is thickened. Add beef base, if desired, to deepen the flavor. Or, if you happen to have a Guinness in the fridge… I’m just sayin’.


Put it all together – Preheat oven to 350° F.

Add the corned beef chunks to the cabbage and carrot mixture and toss to mix it in the casserole dish. Pour the gravy evenly over the filling. Top with dollops of colcannon (don’t smooth it) and bake for 45 minutes, until gravy is bubbling from underneath and colcannon has turned lightly crispy on its peaks.



14 thoughts on “Corned Beef Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Pingback: Corned Beef Shepherd’s Pie — Comfort du Jour | My Meals are on Wheels

  2. That Nilla sure is a cutie and Jenny could learn a thing or two from her about vegetables!
    Corned beef has never really been on my radar as although it is tasty, I always feel like I have ate a cup of salt for the next few days after. This however, looks amazing and I can almost taste the corned beef as well as the carrots and potatoes. I bet it tastes even better the second day, if you had any left overs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I’m with you on the “salty” point! I had to stop eating corned beef for a few years because it was always so salty. Then, a few companies started packaging “lower sodium” versions but they still had sodium nitrite, the stuff that makes it turn pink. I love making my own now because I skip the nitrites and it’s easier overall to control the amount of salt.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Corned Beef Shepherd’s Pie — Comfort du Jour | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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