Red Beer-braised Beef Shepherd's Pie

My grandmother and I always made a great shepherd's pie on cold winter days. Nothing is more comforting than some good mashed potatoes, accented with celeriac, with meat and good corn. I still remember the aroma of the onion cooking with the ground beef. I had a lot of trouble mashing the potatoes and I remember she added a lot of butter! This version is a tribute to the dish of my childhood. Did you know that this dish was invented in the 19th century during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway? Back then, workers were fed corn, beef and potatoes but it’s the Asian workers who started to combine their rations and created this dish! French Canadian workers started to name it "pâté chinois” shortly after.
Yield 6 Servings Prep. Time 40 min Cooking Time 190 min Total Time 230 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) Boneless Beef Blade Roast, trimmed, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Half onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (EACH 355 mL) red beer,
  • 1 cup (250 mL) beef broth
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) herbes de Provence
  • 1 lb (500 g) cheese curds
  • 2 cups (500 mL) frozen corn kernels
  • Sweet smoked paprika

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 white potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 lb/1 kg)
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and diced
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
  • ½ cup (125 mL) grated fresh Parmesan
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) milk
  • Fresh ground pepper

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Pat beef dry with paper towel Heat a generous layer of oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or enamelled cast-iron pan. Brown beef, in batches as necessary, turning, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper generously. Transfer to a plate.

Add a thin layer of oil to the pot. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Pour in beer and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of the pot. Stir in broth, maple syrup, bay leaves and herbes de Provence. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. 3. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, in preheated 350°F oven for 2½ hours or until meat is fork-tender. 4. Mashed Potatoes: Meanwhile, place potatoes and celeriac in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Season with salt. Reduce heat and boil gently for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Pour into a colander, drain and return to the pan. Add butter and stir until melted. Add the Parmesan and milk. Mash until smooth using a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. 5. Transfer meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon and shred the meat with two forks. Discard the fat and bay leaves. Skim fat from juice in pot. 6. Pour the meat into a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) baking dish and sprinkle with a few ladles of the cooking juices. Scatter the cheese curds on top and set aside. 7. Heat a thin layer of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cook corn, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, until corn is golden brown. Spoon over the meat and cheese. Spoon the Mashed Potatoes over the meat and spread to cover. Sprinkle with smoked paprika to taste. 8. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.