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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie is made with lamb or mutton, either already cooked or not, with some flavouring vegetables such as onion mixed in, then topped with mashed potato and baked.

It's often served with garden peas.

If the dish is made with a meat other than lamb or mutton, it is actually a Cottage Pie.

Cooking Tips

Using pre-ground meat from the store meat counter in the pie is usual now, but it can turn into hard little pellets on you.

Instead of ground meat, try using chunks of meat from shoulder of lamb, or beef shank. Leave some fat on, to help prevent the meat from going dry on you.

Cook the chunks of meat first until tender, and then proceed to assemble the pie.

The mashed potato on top should have lots of butter and milk in it. Ideally, they're not mashed too smoothly.

History Notes

Shepherd's Pie probably originated in Scotland and in the north of England. Originally, it was made from chunks of meat, probably leftover from a roast, as mincing machines weren't invented until the 1870s.

The dish as we know it, though, couldn't have originated before potatoes became generally accepted in the UK, which wasn't until the end of the 1700s.

Before that, the dish or a very similar one was made in Scotland, but topped with a pastry crust instead of mashed potato.

The name for the dish appeared in the 1870s.


Parker Bowles, Tom. Why there's no better British dish than shepherd's pie. London: Daily Mail. 17 September 2009.

See also:

Savoury Pies

Aussie Meat Pies; Bacon and Potato Pie Recipe; Bacon & Onion Tart Recipe; Cottage Pie; Cow-Heel Pie; Devizes Pie; Fray Bentos Pies; Friday Pie; Hornazo; Huntingdon Fidget Pie Recipe; Huntingdon Fidget Pie; Melton Mowbray Pork Pies; Muggety Pie; Pasticcio; Pork Pies; Puffed Pinwheel Pizzas Recipe; Sausage and Mushroom Turnovers Recipe; Savoury Pies; Shepherd's Pie; Stand Pies; Stargazey Pie Recipe; Stokenchurch Pie Recipe; Stokenchurch Pie; Tartiflette Tart; Tourtière; Zucchini and Pesto Puffs Recipe

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Also called:

Hachis parmentier (French)


Oulton, Randal. "Shepherd's Pie." CooksInfo.com. Published 04 June 2004; revised 10 August 2010. Web. Accessed 06/24/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/shepherds-pie>.

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