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Dubliner Shepherds Pie

Family Features | 3/14/2011, 8:51 a.m.

Yes, there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's found in each blade of grass growing in Ireland's lush pastures. Small herds of cows graze freely, and the milk, rich in beta-carotene from the grass, produces butter and cheeses of an exceptionally golden hue.

Thousands of years before the Irish discovered potatoes, dairy cows, milk and butter were being woven into the fabric of Irish society, according to the Cork Butter Museum in Cork City, Ireland.

The Cork Butter Exchange, a market created by the merchants of Cork City in 1769, was in its time, the largest butter market in the world, exporting as far away as Europe and America.

Today, dairy products continue to play an important role in Irish cooking. Cooperatives of farmers, creameries and cheesemakers provide delicious Irish butter and cheeses throughout the U.S. under the Kerrygold label.

Here are some iconic recipes from some stars of Irish cooking, using Kerrygold cheeses and butter. To learn more about Kerrygold, and for where-to-buy information, visit www.kerrygold.com/usa.

"Our family loves a hearty shepherd's pie after a long day working on the farm. Because our cows produce milk to make Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, we like to add some shredded Dubliner to the potato crust." -Donal Murphy, Kerrygold dairy farmer, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland

Potato topping:
1 1/4--pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2--tablespoons Kerrygold Irish Butter
1/3--cup milk
1--cup shredded Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese
1/2--teaspoon salt

Filling:
1--pound lean ground beef
2--tablespoons Kerrygold Irish Butter
1--medium onion, chopped
4--small carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2--tablespoons flour
3/4--cup Guinness Stout
3/4--cup beef stock
1--teaspoon dried thyme
1/2--teaspoon salt
1/2--cup frozen peas, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Cook potatoes in boiling water for 15 minutes or until very tender; drain well. Mash with butter and milk until smooth, then stir in cheese and salt and set aside.

Crumble beef into a medium skillet and cook until no longer pink; remove from skillet and set aside. In same skillet, melt butter. Add onion and carrots; cook for 10 minutes over medium heat to soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute more.

Add Guinness, stock, thyme and salt; cook and stir until mixture is slightly thickened then stir in peas and cooked beef. Spoon into prepared baking dish then spread potato mixture over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned.