Comfort Classic

By: Karen Talaski | January 3, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Grand Trunk.

Imagine working alone in the pasture with only sheep as your company. You’d want a rich, fulfilling dinner to keep you warm, body and soul. That is where the old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes dish called shepherd’s pie must come from as a kitchen standard. 

Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is made with ground meat as the main protein, a bunch of veggies of your choice – most likely, the root vegetables will take center stage here – as well as a deep meaty gravy as the glue that holds the dish together. It only gets better, though, because it is topped with a thick serving of mashed potatoes. 

What separates one shepherd’s pie from another is the choices the chef makes from the start. Are you going with beef or lamb? The British might go with the ground cow, making it more of a cottage pie to those overseas sorts. If you go with lamb, you’re most likely making something the Irish might favor and it is more of a shepherd’s special.

All in all, if you like casseroles or want everything that normally gets spread out on the plate to be combined in one warm bowl, then a shepherd’s pie is going to serve you well. Pair it with a thick slice of bread, spread thick with buttery goodness, and a pint of an adult beverage crafted in Michigan, and you’ve got a nourishing and pretty nutritious meal at the same time.

 Metro Detroit has a plethora of choices when it comes to shepherd’s pie. Some vary the kinds of potatoes they use in the mash. Others mix up the meat. Overall, they all get it right with the gravy and beloved veg choices, like peas, carrots and onions.

Here are some places where shepherd’s pie takes a leading role on the lunch and dinner menus: 

McShane’s Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar 

This traditional favorite pie features stewed seasoned ground beef, peas, carrots and onions in a brown gravy. What separates the dish from the pack is it is smothered with sharp cheddar jack cheese and white cheddar mashed potatoes. It also arrives with a sweet honey cornbread on the side to sop up all of that rich gravy. 

Dick O’ Dow’s 

Head over to Birmingham to try this beloved pub’s take on the old-fashioned recipe, which features braised lamb in addition to ground beef and the rest of the crew of corn, peas and carrots. Its roasted garlic gravy adds tons of flavor to this local favorite.

Pat O’Brien’s 

Everyone on the East side heads to this St. Clair Shores favorite for classic treats such as Boxty, Fish & Chips as well as Bangers and Mash. But the Shepherd’s Pie shouldn’t be missed. It features ground beef with corn, baby peas, carrots and a smoked porter brown sauce. To make it stand out even more, they’ve topped it with garlic mashed redskin potatoes and melted cheese. 

Three Blind Mice Irish Pub 

Mt. Clemens is home to this hearty Cottage Pie. It is made with Guinness braised beef simmered with root vegetables, sweet peas, carrots and pearl onions in a savory Guinness gravy topped with mashed potatoes. With such a recipe, it may be a safe bet to pair this pie with a Guinness or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a Harp’s. 

Grand Trunk Pub 

Detroit has long enjoyed this former train station ticket stand as a place to raise a glass and enjoy a group dinner. Grab your friends and try out its traditional pie, which features a goodly sized portion of ground beef, sweet corn, parsnip, leeks and gravy topped creamy mashed potatoes and everyone’s favorite cheese, tangy cheddar.