Cottage pie

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Cottage pie
An example of cottage pie, made with minced beef
Alternative names Shepherd's pie
Type Meat pie
Place of origin UK, Ireland
Main ingredients mashed potatoes
Variations Cumberland pie, Shepherdess pie
  Cottage pie

Cottage pie or shepherd's pie is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.[1][2][3][4][5]


The term cottage pie was in use by 1791,[2][6] when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cf. "cottage" meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).


In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.[7][8]

The term "shepherd's pie" did not appear until 1877,[2] and since then it has been used synonymously with "cottage pie", regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton.[1][4][9][7][8][10][11] More recently, the term "shepherd's pie" has been used when the meat is lamb,[12][13] the theory being that shepherds are concerned with sheep[14] and not cattle[15][16][17] (see folk etymology).


  • A St. Stephen's Day pie is made using turkey and ham.[18]
  • The Cumberland pie is a version with a layer of breadcrumb on top.[19]
  • A similar English dish made with fish is a fish pie.
  • A vegetarian version (occasionally named "Shepherdless Pie" or Farmer's Pie) can be made using soya or other meat substitutes (like tofu or Quorn), or legumes such as lentils or chickpeas.
  • In Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Nicaragua and Uruguay, a similar dish is called "pastel de papa" (potato pie) or pastel de carne (meat pie). The Chilean version includes minced meat, minced and fried onions, black olives, raisins and hard-boiled eggs.
  • In the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico this is called pastelón de papa (potato casserole), it has a layer of potatoes, one or two of meat, and another of potatoes, topped with a layer of cheese. This is called "Yaroa" in Dominican Republic and is usually sweeter than other versions because they either can use potatoes, sweet plantain or yucca.
  • In France, a similar dish is called hachis Parmentier.
  • In Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon a similar dish is referred to as "Siniyet Batata" (literally meaning a plate of potatoes), or "Kibbet Batata".
  • In Quebec, a similar dish is called pâté chinois (literally, "Chinese paste"), which contains a layer of corn between the meat and the potato. In English-speaking Canada, the traditional British shepherd's pie prevails.
  • In Russia, a similar dish is called "Картофельная запеканка" (Kartofel'naya zapekanka, or "potato baked pudding").
  • In Portugal a similar dish is called "Empadão", with two layers of mashed potatoes and a layer of minced beef in between.
  • In the Low Countries, a similar dish is called "Filosoof".
  • In Finland, a similar dish is called "lihaperunasoselaatikko", with the mince (e.g. mix of pork/beef) mixed thoroughly with the potato mash.
  • "Herderspastei" in Afrikaans South Africa, with the addition of peas in the mince and topped with grated cheese (occasionally eggs are broken before sprinkling the cheese and baking the topping)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1933
  2. ^ a b c Merriam-Webster Online
  3. ^ "The Chambers Dictionary", Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 1999
  4. ^ a b Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Revised), Oxford University Press, 2006
  5. ^ "Jewish Cookery by Florence Greenberg", Penguin Books Ltd, 1947–1963
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton, 1861.
  8. ^ a b Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book by Lizzie Heritage published by Cassell and Company, 1894
  9. ^ The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. Routledge. 1990. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  10. ^ The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, J M Dent & Sons, 1956
  11. ^ Chambers Dictionary, Ninth Edition, published by Chambers Harrap Publishing Ltd, 2003
  12. ^ "Delia Smith: Shepherds Pie with Crusted Leeks". Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  13. ^ "BBC Food Recipes: Shepherd's Pie". Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie". Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "Comments on what kind of lamb for Shepherd's Pie". Retrieved 11 February 2009. 
  16. ^ "Comments on Low Fat Shepherd's Pie recipe". Retrieved 11 February 2009. 
  17. ^ "BBC Food Recipes: Classic cottage pie". Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  18. ^ St Stephen's Day pie
  19. ^ "What is Cumberland Pie?". Retrieved 6 December 2010.