Shepherd's pie

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Shepherd's pie
Shepherd's pie served with peas,
a common accompaniment
Alternative namesCottage pie, hachis Parmentier
TypeMeat pie
Place of originBritain and France
Main ingredientsMashed potato with minced meat
VariationsCumberland pie,
Shepherdess pie

Shepherd's pie, cottage pie, or in its French version hachis Parmentier, is a savoury dish of cooked minced meat topped with mashed potato and baked, formerly also called Sanders or Saunders. The meat used may be either previously cooked or freshly minced. The usual meats are beef or lamb. The two English terms have been used interchangeably since they came into use in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, although some writers insist that a shepherd's pie should contain lamb or mutton, and a cottage pie, beef.


Shepherd's pies for sale
Shepherd's pie in Tallinn, Estonia
Shepherd's pie in an English restaurant

Cottage pie

The term was in use by 1791. Parson Woodforde mentions "Cottage-Pye" in his diary entry for 29 August 1791 and several times thereafter. He records that the meat was veal but does not say what the topping was.[1] The dish was known in its present form, though not under the same name, in the early 19th century: in 1806 Maria Rundell published a recipe for "Sanders", consisting of the same ingredients as cottage or shepherd's pie: minced beef or mutton, with onion and gravy, topped with mashed potato and baked as individual servings.[2][n 1] Sanders or Saunders could also have a filling of sliced meat.[4]

In 20th-century and later use the term cottage pie has widely, but not exclusively, been used for a dish of chopped or minced beef with a mashed potato topping.[5][n 2] The beef may be fresh or previously cooked;[5] the latter was at one time more usual. Well into the 20th century the absence of refrigeration made it expedient in many domestic kitchens to store cooked meat rather than raw. In the 1940s the chef Louis Diat recalled of his childhood days, "when housewives bought their Sunday meat they selected pieces large enough to make into leftover dishes for several days".[7] Modern recipes for cottage pie typically use fresh beef.[5]

Shepherd's pie

A recipe for shepherd's pie published in Edinburgh in 1849 in The Practice of Cookery and Pastry specifies cooked meat of any kind, sliced rather than minced, covered with mashed potato and baked.[8] In the 1850s the term was also used for a Scottish dish that contained a mutton and diced potato filling inside a pastry crust.[9] Neither shepherd's pie nor cottage pie was mentioned in the original edition of Mrs Beeton's Household Management in 1861.[10]

More recently "shepherd's pie" has generally been used for a potato-topped dish of minced lamb. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, "In keeping with the name, the meat should be mutton or lamb; and it is usually cooked meat left over from a roast".[5] As with beef, it was commonplace in the days before refrigeration to cook a Sunday joint to last in various guises throughout the week. Dorothy Hartley quotes a traditional verse, "Vicarage mutton", showing not only the uses to which the joint was put, but also the interchangeability of the terms "shepherd's" and "cottage" pie:

          Hot on Sunday,
          Cold on Monday,
          Hashed on Tuesday,
          Minced on Wednesday,
          Curried Thursday,
          Broth on Friday,
          Cottage pie Saturday.[11]

Hachis Parmentier

The dish Hachis Parmentier is named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who popularised the potato in French cuisine in the late 18th century.[5] It is documented from the late 19th century.[n 3] It is usually made with chopped or minced lamb or beef; in either case it may be made with either fresh or left-over cooked meat. (The modern English term "hash" derives from the French hachis, meaning food "finely chopped".)[13][n 4]

In some recipes a layer of sauté potatoes is put in the cooking dish before the meat filling and mashed potato topping are added.[15] A more elaborate version by Auguste Escoffier, named Hachis de boeuf à Parmentier, consists of baked potatoes, the contents of which are removed, mixed with freshly-cooked diced beef, returned to the potato shells and covered with sauce lyonnaise.[16]


There are no universally agreed ingredients for any of the three dishes. The 24 recipes cited in the table show the varieties of titles and ingredients recommended by cooks and food writers from Australia, Britain, Canada, France and the US.

Cook/writer Name of dish Meat used Fresh or left-over Ref
Mary Berry Cottage pie Beef Fresh [17]
Mère Biasin Hachis Parmentier Lamb Left-over boiled[n 5] [18]
Paul Bocuse Hachis Parmentier Beef Left-over boiled [19]
Robert Carrier Cottage pie Beef Fresh [20]
Felicity Cloake Cottage pie Beef Fresh, chopped, not minced [21]
Jean-Pierre Coffe Hachis Parmentier Beef Left-over boiled, mixed with fresh calves' liver [22]
Elizabeth Craig Shepherd's pie Lamb Left-over casseroled [23]
Jane Grigson Shepherd's pie Beef or lamb Fresh [24]
Michel Guérard Hachis Parmentier Veal sweetbreads and duck gizzards Fresh [25]
Mark Hix Shepherd's pie Beef and lamb Fresh [26]
Graham Kerr Cottage pie Beef Fresh [27]
Tom Kerridge Cottage pie Beef Fresh [28]
Jean Paré Hachis Parmentier Beef Fresh [29]
Henri-Paul Pellaprat Hachis Parmentier Beef Left-over [30]
Gordon Ramsay Shepherd's pie Lamb Fresh [31]
Jay Rayner Cottage pie Beef and pork Fresh [32]
Gary Rhodes Shepherd's pie Lamb Fresh [33]
Michel Roux, Jr.[n 6] Hachis Parmentier Lamb Left-over roast [34]
Madame Saint-Ange Hachis de bœuf au gratin Beef Left-over [35]
Joan Schwartz Shepherd's pie Lamb Fresh [36]
Delia Smith Cottage pie Beef Fresh [37]
Martha Stewart Shepherd's pie Beef Fresh [38]
John Torode[n 7] Cottage pie Beef Fresh [39]
Anne Willan Hachis Parmentier Beef Fresh [40]

Similar dishes

Fillings for other pies with a mashed potato topping are numerous, and include artichoke hearts and red peppers;[41] black pudding;[42] chicken and spinach;[43] chorizo;[44] curried chicken;[45] duck;[46] rabbit;[47] salmon;[48] salt cod;[49] turkey and ham;[50] and flaked white fish with shrimps, in a white sauce.[51]

Other pies with non-pastry toppings include:

Name of dish Place of origin Description Ref
Cumberland pie England Pies of this name exist in two versions: traditional Cumberland pies, still served in Cumbria, have a pastry case, but others have a lamb or beef or pork-sausage filling covered by mashed potato topped with cheese and breadcrumbs. [52]
Empadão Portugal Meat, often veal, stewed in a tomato-based gravy and layered several times between mashed potatoes. Poultry or fish is sometimes used instead of meat [53]
Escondidinho Brazil The name, indicating "hidden", describes the way sun-dried meat is covered with a layer of manioc purée. The dish often includes cheese and chicken; cod is sometimes used instead of beef. [54]
Pastel de carne Uruguay The filling is similar to that of a cottage pie, with the addition of sliced hard-boiled eggs. [55]
Pastel de papas Argentina, Chile Similar to cottage pie; may also contain peppers. [56]
Pastel tutup Indonesia Made with any of several meats, with vegetables such as carrots and green peas and boiled eggs, all topped with mashed potato. [57]
Pâté chinois Canada Also known in Canada as shepherd's pie, consisting of a bottom layer of beef, a middle layer of creamed sweetcorn, topped with mashed potato. [58]
Pióg an aoire Ireland The Irish for shepherd's pie. [59]
Shepherdess pie Other Also called shepherdless pie: a vegetarian version made without meat, or a vegan version made without meat and dairy. [60]

See also

Notes, references and sources


  1. ^ In 1845 Eliza Acton published her recipe for "Saunders", similar to Rundell's, but with a layer of mashed potato underneath the minced meat as well as one on top. Like Rundell, she uses pre-cooked meat but adds, "A very superior kind of saunders is made by substituting fresh meat for roasted; but this requires to be baked an hour or something more".[3]
  2. ^ Jane Grigson noted that to make the dish go further some recipes put in a bottom layer of potato before adding the meat and top layer.[6]
  3. ^ It is listed on a bistro menu in Le Petit Moniteur universel, 29 June 1892: "Escargots. Fraise de veau. Ravigotte. Navarin pommes. Salé aux choux. Hachis Parmentier. Œufs, saucisses. Poulet rôti chaud".[12]
  4. ^ In his Grand dictionnaire de cuisine (1873) Alexandre Dumas wrote, "When you have veal, beef, chicken, game or scraps of meat left over from dinner the night before, all you have to do is chop these left-overs neatly, and there are tools for that, until the whole forms a complete mixture."[14]
  5. ^ In Mère Biasin's version, rather than a single layer of ragout and a single layer of potato, there would be several alternating layers of each, with a potato one on the top.[18]
  6. ^ "For me, the best shepherd's pie is made with leftover roast lamb, either shoulder or leg. In fact, I remember my sister and myself holding back on a Sunday lunch in case there wasn't enough left to make the pie."[34]
  7. ^ Torode comments, "The great cottage pie – whoever worked this one out was a genius".[39]


  1. ^ Woodforde (Vol III), p. 295; and (Vol V), pp. 335, 347, 371, 378, 389, 393 and 410
  2. ^ Rundell, p. 39
  3. ^ Acton, p. 195
  4. ^ Hughes, p. 49
  5. ^ a b c d e Saberi, p. 717
  6. ^ Grigson (1984), p. 70
  7. ^ Diat, p. 83
  8. ^ Williamson, p. 65
  9. ^ Dallas, pp. 255–256
  10. ^ Beeton, index pp. viii–ix, xiii and xxx
  11. ^ Hartley, p. 160
  12. ^ Anfossi, Marc. "Un bistro – fin de siècle", Le Petit Moniteur universel, 29 June 1892, p. 2, column 5
  13. ^ "hash". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  14. ^ Dumas, p. 619
  15. ^ Saulnier, p. 143
  16. ^ Escoffier, p. 391
  17. ^ Berry, p. 198
  18. ^ a b Hayward, p. 126
  19. ^ Bocuse, p. 53
  20. ^ Carrier, p. 30
  21. ^ Cloake, Felicity. "How to make perfect cottage pie" Archived 13 May 2022 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 21 October 2010
  22. ^ Coffe, p. 312
  23. ^ Craig, p. 182
  24. ^ Grigson (1992), pp. 140−141
  25. ^ Guerard, pp. 108–109
  26. ^ Hix, p. 165
  27. ^ Kerr, p. 102
  28. ^ Kerridge, p. 193
  29. ^ Paré, p. 13
  30. ^ Pellaprat, p. 374
  31. ^ Ramsay, pp. 148−149
  32. ^ Rayner, p. 49
  33. ^ Rhodes, p. 115
  34. ^ a b Roux, p. 146
  35. ^ Saint-Ange, p. 374
  36. ^ Schwartz, pp. 122–123
  37. ^ Smith, p. 88
  38. ^ Stewart, Martha. "Shepherd's pie" Archived 9 April 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 13 May 2022
  39. ^ a b Torode, p. 100
  40. ^ Willan (1993), p. 92
  41. ^ Chovancova, p. 60
  42. ^ Chovancova, p. 42
  43. ^ Chovancova, p. 16
  44. ^ Chovancova, p. 56
  45. ^ Chovancova, p. 18
  46. ^ Chovancova, p. 32
  47. ^ Chovancova, p. 24
  48. ^ Chovancova, p. 48
  49. ^ Chovancova, p. 50
  50. ^ "BBC - Food - Recipes : Turkey and ham pie". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  51. ^ Willan (2005), p. 46
  52. ^ Orrey, p. 40; and Lemm, Elaine. "What is Cumberland Pie?" Archived 11 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Thespruceats. Retrieved 14 May 2022
  53. ^ Scott-Aitken, p. 258; and "Empadão de Carne" Archived 10 April 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Receitas Culinárias. Retrieved 14 May 2022
  54. ^ "Escondidinho recipe — Brazilian Wave". Brazilian Wave. 1 August 2012. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  55. ^ "Pastel de carne" Archived 26 April 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Gastronomía. Retrieved 14 May 2022
  56. ^ "Pastel de papas" Archived 21 July 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Recetas de Argentina. Retrieved 14 May 2022
  57. ^ "Grandma Liem’s Pastel Tutup (Indonesian Cottage Pie) Recipe" Archived 16 May 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Cookpad. Retrieved 14 May 2022
  58. ^ Marcotte, p. 72
  59. ^ "cottage pie - Aistriúchán Gaeilge ar cottage pie (An Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge)". (in Irish). Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  60. ^ "10 Things you didnt know about Shepherds Pie - Jamie Oliver". Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.