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The Folger Spotlight

Feasting on (Second) Shepherd's Pie

Tending to the flock, stealing sheep, walking to Bethlehem, playing the music that underscores it all…the company of The Second Shepherds’ Play does this and more, night after night. It’s no wonder, then, that such a hectic schedule helps them work up quite an appetite! Luckily, musician Daniel Meyers has it covered. To celebrate the opening of “the most original and most genuinely spirited show of the Christmas season,” he whipped up a hearty meal for cast and crew of—what else?—Shepherd’s Pie. Meyers was kind enough to share his recipe with The Folger Spotlight, and we’re sure your own family will flock to it this holiday season. Give it a try, and let us know how it turns out in the comments!



  • 3 lbs. round boiling potatoes such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 to 3 tbs butter, to taste (for mashed potatoes)
  • 1 cup milk (for mashed potatoes)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb (the lamb at Eastern Market is always excellent!)
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cups green beans, chopped into 1/4″ sections
  • 3 large carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp rosemary (dried or fresh—chop finely if fresh)
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sweet paprika (for garnish)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


The finished product! Photo: Robert Eisenstein.

  1. Chop potatoes into large pieces (if you prefer, you can peel them first) and boil in heavily salted water until tender.
  2. Drain and mash, adding 1 cup milk and a tablespoon or two of butter until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in a small amount of butter or olive oil over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add lamb and saute until browned.
  5. Add all vegetables and herbs and cook, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and browned slightly, but still have some crunch to them.
  6. Add red wine and cook for a few minutes more, or until the wine has mostly evaporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  7. Stir flour into lamb and vegetable mixture, mixing well, and then pour into a 9×13 baking dish, or a couple of smaller square baking dishes. Level with the back of a spatula or spoon and then spread mashed potatoes on top in a fairly thick, even layer (you may end up with some left over, depending on the depth of your baking dish). Drag the tines of a fork across the top of the mashed potatoes in a straight or swirled pattern to create tiny ridges (these will get nicely browned when it bakes), then sprinkle with paprika.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes and enjoy!

If you’re looking for even more fun recipes, visit Shakespeare & Beyond and have a go making their Sweet Potato Pudding. And thanks to Dan for sharing this recipe with us! It sounds delicious…is it dinner time, yet?

Megan Graves (Daw) and Matthew R. Wilson (Gib) in The Second Shepherds' Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

Megan Graves (Daw) and Matthew R. Wilson (Gib) in The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

Hungry for more? Time is running out! The Second Shepherds’ Play is on stage until December 21 at the Folger Shakespeare Library. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.