3 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds ground lamb
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups homemade beef stock, canned low-sodium beef broth, or 3 bouillon cubes mixed with 3 cups boiling water
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
3 tablespoons Cheddar cheese, preferably Irish, grated (optional)
1. To start the filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add lamb and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, and with a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a large bowl.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Stir in the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the carrots, parsley, and thyme, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are coated with oil. Stir in the flour, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the stock or broth. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thickened. Season again with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
4. To make the topping: In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash. Add the milk and butter and stir until smooth.
5. Transfer the stew to a large casserole dish or 4 individual ovenproof casserole dishes. Decoratively spread or pipe the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture is hot. Preheat the broiler for just a few minutes and sprinkle the potatoes with the grated cheese, if using. Place the pie under the preheated broiler, 4 inches from the heat source, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling.