Cooking With Stout: Bison Shepherd’s Pie

A dry Irish-style stout is ideal for pairing with shepherd’s pie—and a splash or two also finds its way into this moderately spicy version with ground bison, a dish sure to keep you warm while waiting for spring.

Christopher Cina Feb 11, 2023 - 4 min read

Cooking With Stout: Bison Shepherd’s Pie Primary Image

Photo: Christopher Cina

Bison Shepherd’s Pie

Serves: 4–6

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 lb (907 g) ground bison
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (237 ml) red onion, diced small
  • 1 jalapeño, cleaned, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs chile powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup (237 ml) stout
  • 2 cup (473 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup (118 ml) chicken stock

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the bison, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the oil. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Add the onions, jalapeño, garlic, and 1 tsp salt to the oil in the pan and cook until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste, chile powder, oregano, cumin, and coriander. Cook 1–2 minutes.

Add the stout, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low. Return the browned bison meat to the pan and cook until done, about 30 minutes.


Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Mashed Potatoes

2 lb (907 g) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
Kosher salt
4 oz (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
2 egg yolks

Place potatoes in a pan with cold water to cover and 1 Tbs salt. Place the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and allow them to steam dry for about 10 minutes.

Either by hand or in a mixer with paddle attachment, combine the potatoes, butter, cream, and egg yolks. Mix well, scraping down the sides as you go. Season with salt to taste.

Place the bison meat mixture in a deep 6" x 9" (15 x 23 cm) baking dish, spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture, and bake at 400°F (204°C) until an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) is reached.

Beer Tasting Notes: Dry Irish-style stout is the natural partner for this dish, adding light chocolate notes without stealing the show, while also complementing the acidity of the tomato-based sauce.

Beer Suggestions: Guinness Draught is ubiquitous and never disappoints, but craftier options are available locally and regionally (typically around St. Patrick’s Day), such as Cigar City Patio Tools (Tampa), Revolution Paddy Wagon (Chicago), and Birds Fly South Nights Like These (Greenville, South Carolina).