Corned Beef and Cabbage Shepherd's Pie


  • 1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 quarts cold water, or as needed to cover
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 2 small heads Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, thickly sliced
  • 5 large russet potatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into slices
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup grated Irish Cheddar cheese, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions, or to taste
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Put corned beef in a pot with onion and celery and sprinkle spice packet over top. Pour in cold water to cover. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Skim off and discard any foam if desired. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until tender, about 3 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).


  • Step 2

    Carefully remove corned beef to a bowl and let cool. Taste broth and add salt if needed.

  • Step 3

    Bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add cabbage to the boiling broth. Cook until cabbage just starts to soften and sweeten up, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and remove cabbage to a bowl.

  • Step 4

    Add carrots to the boiling broth. Cook until carrots start to soften, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and remove carrots to a bowl.

  • Step 5

    Add potatoes to the boiling broth and reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Step 6

    While the potatoes are cooking, slice the cooled corned beef along the fatty seam to separate into 2 pieces. Identify the direction of the meat fibers and cut across them (against the grain) to slice into 1/4-inch thick slices, trimming off and discarding any giant pieces of fat. Set aside.

  • Step 7

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 9×15-inch casserole dish.

  • Step 8

    Use a slotted spoon and remove cooked potatoes to a bowl. Reserve broth. Add butter, salt, pepper, cayenne, and milk to the potatoes. Mix and mash until very smooth. Toss in 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated.

  • Step 9

    Pour cabbage into the prepared casserole dish and press on it until nicely compacted. Evenly distribute and press carrots over the cabbage. Place a nice, even layer of corned beef on top, overlapping a bit and distributing the nice fatty pieces evenly until fully covered. Pour in 1 cup of the reserved broth. Dollop mashed potatoes over top, then spread into a uniform layer with the back of a spatula. Switch to a fork and push potatoes to the edge of the dish. Then drag the fork sideways back and forth over the potatoes to create a texture. Repeat this texture going top to bottom over the potatoes. Sprinkle with a little more Cheddar.

  • Step 10

    Bake in the center of the preheated oven until beautifully browned and piping hot, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Step 11

    Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

  • Step 12

    Meanwhile, warm any remaining broth over medium-low heat.

  • Step 13

    Cut Shepherd’s pie into squares and garnish with scallions. Serve with warmed broth.

  • Tips

    Chef’s Notes:

    When you buy your corned beef you usually have a choice between a flat, lean one and a thick, fatty one. Use the thick, fatty one if you can get it.

    You can use any green cabbage in place of Savoy, and any Cheddar cheese you like.

    This technique is perfect for making individual-sized portions, just use small baking dishes.

    Editor's Note:

    Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of corned beef broth. The actual amount of broth consumed will vary.

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