[Photograph: Scott Suchman]

Corned beef may be what most Americans will eat to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today, but I'm here to make a case for a rich, homey shepherd's pie. After a weekend of revelry, there's nothing better than digging into a bowl of warm, meaty stew topped with creamy mashed potatoes. Cathal Armstrong's version in his new cookbook, My Irish Table, is a particularly indulgent version. He uses diced lamb shoulder meat in the stew instead of ground to dress the dish up just a smidge, and mixes the potato mash with an opulent blend of egg yolks, butter, and cream. Sure, it may not be the quickest shepherd's pie you could make, but it's certainly the most satisfying.

Why I picked this recipe: Shepherd's pie is one of the first things I think of when I think of Irish food.

What worked: The rich, creamy stew studded with luxuriously tender lamb was made even better by the silky smooth enriched potato topping.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: You could cut the recipe in half if you'd like. Bake the smaller batch in an 8-inch square dish. I'd recommend baking the pie on top of a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of My Irish Table to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.


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