Classic Irish Dish Gets New Mexico Twist in this guest post by Steve Collins


Shepherd’s pie is a classic Irish pub dish. The best ones are a braise of meat and vegetables covered with a layer of cheddary mashed potatoes and baked until a crust forms and the gravy bubbles. This one uses lamb and eggplant because they go so well together. Because I’m from Santa Fe, NM, I couldn’t resist adding some dried ancho and chipotle for a bit of spice. Enjoy this with a substantial ale and good craic.        

Eggplant Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

1 eggplant, peeled and
diced to ¾ “
2 TBS coarse Kosher Salt
2 LB red skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 TBS butter
¼ cup half and half
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
3 TBS olive oil
2 lbs. lamb, from leg or shoulder, trimmed and cut to 1” cubes
1 medium onion, diced to ¼ “
½ cup carrots, diced to ¼ “
½ cup celery, diced to ¼ “
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 cups beef stock
1 TBS dried oregano
1 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 TBS ancho chili, ground
½ tsp chipotle chili, ground
Black pepper

Sprinkle eggplant with kosher salt, spread on a baking sheet and let stand for an hour. Rinse and pat dry.

Put potatoes in enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (approx. 12 minutes). Remove to a heated bowl. Mash the potatoes and add butter in one tablespoon increments. Stir in enough half and half to make a smooth puree. Add cheddar and blend well. Keep warm.
Lamb and eggplant braise ready to be topped with potatoes, photo/Steve Collins

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Rinse and drain eggplant. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until soft (approximately 12 minutes.)  Dredge lamb in flour and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the lamb until all sides are browned. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add another tablespoon olive oil along with garlic, onion, celery and carrot to the sauté pan; cook until vegetables are soft. Add three tablespoons flour, mixing well to make a roux. Add two cups beef stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add rosemary, oregano, cumin, coriander, ancho and chipotle and mix through. Add the lamb and eggplant to the sauce and simmer for two minutes. Pour into a nine-inch by thirteen-inch baking dish. Evenly cover with mashed potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest while you set the table.   

Meet the Chef
Steve Collins, whose ancestors were from Limerick, has a varied background including personal chef, executive chef at a small inn and cafe owner.  He is an award-winning cookbook writer and a columnist for National Barbecue News. He worked in guest services at a Relays and Chateaux collection property in Santa Fe for over three years.
He and Billie Frank own The Santa Fe Traveler, a travel-concierge and trip-planning business for visitors to Santa Fe. Billie was a concierge at two of Santa Fe’s finest hotels for four years and has a background of over twenty-five years in sales, marketing and customer service. She is a freelance writer covering Santa Fe and beyond. Her work has appeared in Colorado and New Mexico print publications and on the web.

CorkBilly: Just a note or two on the recipe. I know most of you are aware that Eggplant is the American term for Aubergine. Steve couldn't resist using the local ancho and chipotle chilis (Chillies is the British spelling); I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding suitable substitutes locally.


Unknown said…
Love seeing Steve's recipe on your blog.Thanks!