Shepherds Pie – What is the Authentic Dish and How do You Make It?

When my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in town, my husband and I like to go out to dinner with them. We decided to go to a local golf club for comfort food night. My sister-in-law ordered Shepherds Pie, an historic dish made with lamb, vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

But this main course did not resemble the historic recipe; it had been Americanized. “What does it taste like?” I asked.

“It’s meat loaf with mashed potatoes on top,” my sister-in-law replied. “This is good, but it’s not Shepherds Pie.” Her comment made me curious about the history of the meal. I knew that Shepherds Pie is not a pie at all, but a meat casserole, or hot dish, as we say in my home state of Minnesota.

According to the Cooks.Com website, Shepherds Pie is a British dish made with lamb. Its cousin, Cottage Pie, is made with beef. Contrary to what some believe, neither one contains cheese. “If you see cheese anywhere near a recipe for either,” the website says, “put it down to the USA’s obsession to add…

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