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American Classics by Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Serves 6 TO 8

Diced lamb shoulder chops give the filling a much richer flavor than ground lamb. If you prefer to use ground lamb, see the variation that follows. This recipe includes basic assembly instructions in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.


    • 3  pounds lamb shoulder chops (4 chops), boned and cut into 1 -inch pieces (should yield about 1½ pounds meat)
    • 1½  teaspoons salt
    • 1  teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 3  tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2  medium onions, chopped coarse
    • 2  medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    • 1  medium clove garlic, minced
    • 2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1  tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2¼  cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
    • 1/4  cup full-bodied red wine
    • 1  teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1  teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 1  teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1  cup frozen peas, thawed


    • 2  pounds large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
    • 1  teaspoon salt
    • 6  tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4  cup whole milk, warmed
    • 2  large egg yolks
    • Ground black pepper

1. FOR THE FILLING: Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside in a medium bowl. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the remaining lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the lamb to the bowl.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and carrots to the fat in the now-empty pan. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, flour, and tomato paste and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the thyme, rosemary, and browned lamb. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lamb is just tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and continue to cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes well and return them to the pan set over low heat. Mash the potatoes, adding butter as you mash. Stir in the warm milk and then the egg yolks. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.

4. To ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir the peas into the lamb mixture and check the seasonings. Pour the lamb mixture evenly into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. With a large spoon, place the mashed potatoes over the entire filling. Starting at the sides to ensure a tight seal, use a rubber spatula to smooth out the potatoes and anchor them to the sides of the baking dish. (You should not see any filling.) Bake until the top turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.


Follow the recipe for Shepherd's Pie, substituting 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb for the shoulder chops. Cook, one half at a time, until well browned, about 3 minutes for each batch of lamb. Proceed as directed, reducing the simmering time in step 2 to 15 minutes.

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