If steak ‘n’ kidney pie is made of steak and kidneys, what’s a shepherd’s pie made of? Real shepherds???
Not at all, I mean if you cooked all the shepherds who would look after the sheep.
Shepherd’s Pie is an offshoot of the Cottage Pie, whose earliest reference can be traced to 1791 around the time that the potato was being used as an edible vegetable for the poor. ‘Cottage’ referring to a modest country house.
The shepherd’s pie was not around, but appeared around 1877 and referred to a cottage pie made with mutton.
The idea of the cottage pie was a way of using any leftover meat topped with potato.
Today, the cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are almost synonymous.
Variations on the theme are:
- The cumberland pie is a version with a layer of bread crumbs on top.
- A similar British dish made with fish is a fish pie.
- A vegetarian version can be made using soya or other meat substitutes (like tofu or Quorn), or legumes such as lentils or chick peas.
- In Argentina, Bolivia and Chile a similar dish is called “pastel de papa” (potato pie).
- In the Dominican Republic this is called pastelón de papa (potato casserole), it has a layer of potatoes, one or two of meat, and another of potatoes, topped with a layer of cheese.
- In France, a similar dish is called hachis Parmentier.
- In Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon a similar dish is referred to as “Siniyet Batata” (literally meaning a plate of potatoes), or “Kibbet Batata”.
- In Quebec, a similar dish is called pâté chinois (literally, “Chinese pie”).
- In Russia, a similar dish is called “Картофельная запеканка” (Kartofel’naya zapekanka, or “potato baked pudding”).
- In Brazil a similar dish is called “bolo de batata” (literally meaning a potato cake)
- In Portugal a similar dish is called “Empadão”, with two layers of mashed potatoes and a layer of minced beef in between
So the shepherd’s pie is not uniquely British, nor American, it’s pretty much a universal dish and can be found anywhere.