Shepherd's pie

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Shepherd's pie
Homerton College - Shepherd's pie.jpg
TypeMeat pie
Place of originEngland, Britain
Region or stateWestern Europe
Main ingredientsMashed potato crust and meat filling
VariationsCumberland pie,
Shepherdless pie
Vegetarian and meat shepherd's pies for sale in a market
Shepherd's pie in Tallinn, Estonia.
...with the kind of refrigeration we had in our homes, cooked meat could be kept much more safely than raw. Therefore, when housewives bought their Sunday meat they selected pieces large enough to make into leftover dishes for several days. Our beef was generally cooked in the Pot-au-Feu... the dishes my mother made from this leftover boiled beef, especially the hachis... were... delicious tidbits.

Louis Diat, 1946[1]

Shepherd's pie, cottage pie, or hachis Parmentier is a ground meat pie with a crust or topping of mashed potato;[2][3][4] it is most likely of English origin.[citation needed]

The dish has many variants, but the defining ingredients are ground red meat cooked in a gravy or sauce with onions, and a topping of mashed potato. Sometimes other vegetables are added to the filling, such as peas, sweetcorn, celery or carrots. It is sometimes also gratineed with grated cheese.

Origin of the name[edit]

The term cottage pie was in use by 1791.[3][5]

The term shepherd's pie did not appear until 1854,[3] and was initially used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of whether the meat was beef or mutton.[2][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][pages needed][excessive citations] However, in the UK since the 21st century, the term shepherd's pie is used more commonly when the meat is lamb.[13][14][15]

The French name hachis Parmentier is documented in French in 1900,[16] and in English in 1898,[17] and is generally defined as synonymous or equivalent to shepherd's pie.[4][18] A hachis is anything finely chopped;[19] the English word 'hash' is borrowed from it.[20] 'Parmentier' is Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, after whom many potato dishes were named, as he was instrumental in the promotion of the potato in France in the 18th century.


In early cookery books, the dish is given as a way of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined on the sides and bottom with mashed potato, as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.[8][9]

In France, hachis Parmentier was a "commonplace" and "homely" dish of the cuisine bourgeoise, which was nonetheless given place of honor at a Culinary Exhibition in Paris.[17]

Hachis parmentier is an economical way of using leftover meat, especially from pot-au-feu. Henri-Paul Pellaprat lists it in his section on leftovers,[21] as does the "bible" of bourgeois cuisine, Mme. St-Ange, under the name hachis de bœuf au gratin.[22]

A more elaborate version in 1921 by Auguste Escoffier consisted of a baked potato whose contents were emptied, mixed with diced meat and sauce lyonnaise, and returned to the potato shells or skins to be baked.[23] This version is not found in standard cookbooks.[21][22]

Variations and similar dishes[edit]

Sometimes there is a bottom layer of potato as well as a top.[24]

Other potato-topped pies include:

  • Potato pie is a ground red meat pie topped with mashed potato; the difference is that the potato pie does not include any other vegetables.[citation needed]
  • 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 pastry crust had a filling of meat with fruits and spices.[25]
  • In Canada, pâté chinois (French) or shepherd's pie (English) is made in a casserole dish with ground beef on the bottom layer, canned (creamed) sweetcorn in the middle, and mashed potato on top.
  • Shepherdess pie or shepherdless pie is a vegetarian version made without meat, or a vegan version made without meat and dairy.[26]
  • In the Netherlands, a very similar dish called philosopher's stew (Dutch: filosoof) often adds ingredients like beans, apples, prunes, or apple sauce.[27]
  • In Brazil, the name escondidinho 'hidden' describes the way sun-dried meat is hidden under a layer of manioc purée. The dish often includes cheese and chicken; cod is sometimes used instead of beef.[28]
  • A St. Stephen's Day pie is made with turkey and ham.[29]
  • Fish pie is another part of English cuisine, made of fish and seafood in a béchamel sauce all topped with mashed potato.
  • In Irish this dish is known as pióg an aoire.[30]
  • Similar dishes are the Argentinian pastel de papa 'potato pie' and the Uruguayan pastel de carne 'meat pie'.
  • In Indonesia, pastel tutup 'closed pie' is usually made with chicken and several vegetables such as carrot, green peas and boiled eggs, all topped with mashed potatoes.
  • In Portugal, empadão includes meat that is usually stewed in a tomato-based gravy and layered several times between the mashed potatoes. Poultry or fish are also sometimes used instead of meat.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Diat, Louis (1946). French Cooking for Americans. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. p. 85. OCLC 1036371103.
  2. ^ a b The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, March 2021, s.v.
  3. ^ a b c "shepherd's pie". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Société Dictionnaires le Robert, "Le Robert & Collins: Dictionnaire Français-Anglais, Anglais-Français, 11th edition, 2020; gives hachis Parmentier as equivalent to shepherd's pie
  5. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  6. ^ Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Revised), Oxford University Press, 2006
  7. ^ The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. Routledge. 1990. ISBN 9780415026475. 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. ^ Spry, Constance; Hume, J M Dent & Sons, 1956, Rosemary (19 January 2014). The Constance Spry Cookery Book. ISBN 9781909166103.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, editor Susan Dixon, published by Ward Lock Limited, London, 1982, page 145, Shepherd’s Pie made with beef
  12. ^ Chambers Dictionary, Ninth Edition, published by Chambers Harrap Publishing Ltd, 2003
  13. ^ "Delia Smith: Shepherds Pie with Crusted Leeks". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  14. ^ "BBC Food Recipes: Shepherd's Pie". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  16. ^ Maurice Letulle, "Cure d'alimentation pour les tuberculeux à l'hôpital" (June 8, 1900), Bulletins et mémoires de la Société Médicale des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris 1900, p. 712
  17. ^ a b Ninet, Marguerite (April 1898). "Cookery Exhibits in Paris". The Epicure: A Journal of Taste. 5 (53): 194.
  18. ^ Alan Davidson (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211579-0., s.v. "shepherd's pie"
  19. ^ Trésor de la langue française informatisé, s.v.
  20. ^ Oxford English Dictionary s.v.
  21. ^ a b Henri-Paul Pellaprat, "L'art d'accommoder les restes", Le Nouveau Guide Culinaire, Éditions René Kramer S.A. Lausanne, 1968, p. 189
  22. ^ a b "Les restes", La cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange, Ed. Chaix, Grenoble, 1978, p. 421
  23. ^ Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire, Flammarion, 1921, p. 460
  24. ^ Jane Grigson, The Observer Guide to British Cookery, 1984, ISBN 0718124464, p. 70
  25. ^ "What is Cumberland Pie?". Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  26. ^ "10 Things you didn't know about Shepherd's Pie - Jamie Oliver". Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Filosoof -". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Escondidinho recipe — Brazilian Wave". Brazilian Wave. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  29. ^ "BBC - Food - Recipes : Turkey and ham pie". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  30. ^ "cottage pie - Aistriúchán Gaeilge ar cottage pie (An Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge)". (in Irish). Retrieved 29 August 2018.