Shepherd's pie

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Shepherd's pie
Homerton College - Shepherd's pie.jpg
Type Meat pie
Place of origin United Kingdom
Main ingredients Beef
Lamb and mutton
Mashed potatoes
Variations Cumberland pie, Shepherdess pie
  Media: Shepherd's pie
Shepherd's pie in a market

Shepherd's pie (made with minced lamb or mutton) or cottage pie (made with minced beef) is a meat pie with a topping of mashed potato.[1][2][3][4][5]

The dish can vary widely within its basic definition, whether as a home recipe or on a restaurant menu. The defining ingredients are minced meat (beef for cottage pie, lamb or mutton for shepherd's pie) cooked in a gravy with onions and sometimes vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots, and topped with mashed potato. Whilst not traditional, a common addition to either pie is to top the mashed potato with grated cheese.


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). The term shepherd's pie did not appear until 1854,[2] and is sometimes used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of whether the principal ingredient is beef or mutton.[1][4][7][8][9][10][11] In the United Kingdom, the term shepherd's pie is typically used when the meat is lamb.[12][13][14]


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.[8][9]


Other mashed-potato-topped pies include:

  • The Shepherdess pie is a variation made without meat (vegetarian) or without dairy (vegan).
  • The modern Cumberland pie is a version with either beef or lamb, and a layer of breadcrumbs and cheese on top. In medieval times (and modern-day Cumbria) the crust was pastry, and the filling was meat with fruits and spices.[15]
  • A St. Stephen's Day pie is made using turkey and ham.[16]
  • In Brazil, escondidinho is a similar dish. Besides beef, other possible fillings include chicken, jerked beef and salted cod. Topping with puréed manioc instead of mashed potatoes is common.
  • In the Netherlands, the dish filosoof (philosopher) is similar to shepherd's pie and sometimes served with apples.
  • A fish pie is an English dish of fish and seafood in sauce topped with mashed potato.
  • In Quebec, a variation of the dish is called Pâté chinois. It is made with ground beef on the bottom layer, canned corn in the middle, and mashed potato on top.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1933
  2. ^ a b c "shepherd's pie". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  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. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  7. ^ The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. Routledge. 1990. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton, recipe 1427 in 1907 edition. Uses beef or mutton. Recipe not in original 1861 edition.
  9. ^ a b Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book by Lizzie Heritage published by Cassell and Company, 1894
  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. ^ "What is Cumberland Pie?". Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "BBC - Food - Recipes : Turkey and ham pie". Retrieved 7 December 2015.