Harrisville General Store’s Shepherd’s Pie

By Yankee Magazine

May 03 2019


Harrisville General Store Shepherd’s Pie

Photo Credit : Lori Pedrick

We here at Yankee have a special affection for the Harrisville General Store in Harrisville, New Hampshire. It’s located just a few miles down the road from our offices in Dublin, which makes it one of the more convenient lunch spots in our rural community. But even if it weren’t right next door, we’d still consider it one of the best general stores in New England, both as an eatery and as a community hub.

Chef-manager Samantha Holmes-Rule and her team turn out a something-for-everyone smorgasbord, with homemade doughnuts, pies, and cakes; delicious soups; from-scratch pizzas, legendary seasonal salads; and a daily “cast-iron special,” named after the giant skillet in which it’s cooked.

That last dish varies by the day and season, and in cold-weather months we love when it turns out to be Sam’s take on a classic shepherd’s pie. She uses local beef from a farm just 20 minutes away and sprinkles in a spice blend from Attar Herbs & Spices in nearby Peterborough. “Anything I can’t find locally in the area, I source from states around New Hampshire,” she notes.

For episode three in our third season of Weekends with Yankee, we met up with Sam at the store and watched as she made a giant serving of this favorite casserole. “We’re a general store,” she says, “and we’re cooking for a general population. We have people who have more modern tastes, and we have people who just want a burger or a BLT.”

We’d argue that this dish satisfies both crowds. Enjoy it yourself at home with the following recipe.

For the filling


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 -1/2 tablespoons dried thyme or herbs de Provence
1 pound ground beef
2 cups corn, frozen or fresh, cut off the cob
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onion, celery, garlic, and dried herbs. Reduce heat to gently sweat vegetables until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add ground beef, breaking up large chunks with your spoon and being careful not to crumble the meat too fine. When meat is half cooked — a bit brown but with pink still showing — add the corn, the red wine, and enough salt and pepper to season the dish well.

Allow the wine to reduce by half, adjusting heat so that the mixture is not boiling too aggressively.

Dust the flour evenly over the mixture. Stir in and continue to gently simmer until the remaining liquid has thickened a bit but the flour has cooked enough not to be starchy, approximately 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and set aside.

Next, make the topping.

For the topping


2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cups (2 sticks) butter
Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil in salted water until quite soft , 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add the butter, cream, and salt and pepper. Mash well by hand (an electric mixer produces gummy potatoes). A few rustic chunks of potato are a nice texture. Check potatoes for seasoning and texture, and add more liquid if they are too thick. You want an easily spreadable consistency.

Preheat oven to 400°. To assemble the shepherd’s pie, distribute the meat mixture evenly in the bottom of your cast-iron pan. Layer the potatoes over the the meat mixture, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. If desired, sprinkle smoked paprika or some extra dried herbs over the top.

Bake until the edges are beginning to bubble up and the potato has a slightly golden crust, 15 to 20 minutes.