|Place of origin||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Main ingredients||Mashed potato crust and meat filling|
The recipe has many variations, but the defining ingredients are minced red meat ("cottage pie" refers to beef filling and "shepherd's pie" refers to lamb), cooked in a gravy or sauce with onions and sometimes other vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots, and topped with a layer of mashed potato before it is baked. The pie is sometimes also topped with grated cheese to create a layer of melted cheese on top.
The term shepherd's pie did not appear until 1854, and was initially used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of whether the meat was beef or mutton. However, in the UK since the 20th century, the term shepherd's pie is used only when the meat is lamb.
In early cookery books, the dish was a means 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.
Variations and similar dishes
Other potato-topped pies include:
- 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.
- In Quebec, a variation on the cottage pie is called Pâté chinois. It is made with ground beef on the bottom layer, canned (creamed) corn in the middle, and mashed potato on top.
- The shepherdess pie is a vegetarian version made without meat, or a vegan version made without meat and dairy.
- In the Netherlands, a very similar dish called philosopher's stew (Dutch: filosoof) often adds ingredients like beans, apples, prunes, or apple sauce.
- In Brazil, a dish called in Portuguese: escondidinho refers to the fact that a manioc puree hides a layer of sun-dried meat. The dish often includes cheese and chicken or cod is sometimes used instead of beef.
- A St. Stephen's Day pie is made with turkey and ham.
- Fish pie is another part of English cuisine, made of fish and seafood in a sauce, all topped with mashed potato.
- In Irish this dish is known as pióg an aoire.
- In France a similar dish is called Hachis Parmentier
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- The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1933
- "shepherd's pie". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "The Chambers Dictionary", Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 1999
- Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Revised), Oxford University Press, 2006
- "Jewish Cookery by Florence Greenberg", Penguin Books Ltd, 1947–1963
- "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. Routledge. 1990. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- 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.
- Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book by Lizzie Heritage published by Cassell and Company, 1894
- The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, J M Dent & Sons, 1956
- Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, editor Susan Dixon, published by Ward Lock Limited, London, 1982, page 145, Shepherd’s Pie made with beef
- Chambers Dictionary, Ninth Edition, published by Chambers Harrap Publishing Ltd, 2003
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- "Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
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- "Escondidinho recipe — Brazilian Wave". Brazilian Wave. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "BBC - Food - Recipes : Turkey and ham pie". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- "cottage pie - Aistriúchán Gaeilge ar cottage pie (An Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge)". www.focloir.ie (in Irish). Retrieved 29 August 2018.