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Shepards Pie Virgin Here!

Elora Feb 22, 2009 01:23 PM

I posted another thread about needing an alternative dinner idea of St. Patricks Day other than the typical corned beef and cabbage idea. I've settled on doing a shepards pie, which I've never made before. I'm trying to find one which uses champ at the topping, not just plain, mashed potatoes.

So, if you think you have a really good, authentic version of this recipe, please be so kind to post it here for me? Thanks!

Oh and here's a question. Is putting melted cheese on top of the pie traditional or some sort of americanized affectation? I've seen it served this way, and wasn't sure of the answer.

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  1. todao RE: Elora Feb 22, 2009 01:45 PM

    Champ is essentially a variation of mashed potatoes so I would simply prepare my favorite version of Shepherd's Pie and use the Champ in place of my regular top cover.
    As for cheese - never heard of it for Shepherd's Pie so I'd say it's am American adaptation. "Americanized affectation" just sounded a bit like I might be suggesting using the cheese was somehow dishonest so I didn't want to go that far.
    I love your idea for moving away from the traditional St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage thing. It is very refreshing to find someone thinking outside the box.

    1. CadienBelle RE: Elora Feb 22, 2009 03:15 PM

      I wouldn't say cheese is an "Americanized affectation", I've had shepherd's pie in England and Ireland and some have had cheese on them. I have also had shepherd's pie w/champ that had some white irish cheese mixed into the champ. There was never a lot of cheese used. Just enough to taste. I guess it's up to the maker of the pie.

      13 Replies
      1. re: CadienBelle
        Val RE: CadienBelle Feb 22, 2009 04:16 PM

        I'm trying and trying to think how Shepherd's pie is Irish.....the history of it as I have read goes back to Northern England and Scotland...not Ireland...and the traditional meat is roasted lamb or mutton, NOT beef. And, you would probably never have had cheese on it if you were a shepherd back in the day, am I right? (I will confess that when I make this dish, I do love to add red wine to the leftover roast lamb that's been cut into cubes...they would NOT have had red wine either!!!) I say to the OP Elora: do as YOU please! Make it however you choose! (but cheese would probably have not been added way back in the day of the shepherds in Northern England/Scotland).

        1. re: Val
          CadienBelle RE: Val Feb 22, 2009 04:27 PM

          Who said it's Irish? Certainly I didn't. I guess from what you're saying the Irish can't make shepherd's pie because you say it didn't originate there? And who said anything about cheese being the norm? It's up to the maker of the pie. If you want to get that technical about it, if it's got hamburger in it it's a cottage pie.

          One more thing. My father is Irish... I suppose I could ask. He makes a mean shepherd's pie!!

          1. re: CadienBelle
            Val RE: CadienBelle Feb 22, 2009 04:36 PM

            CadienBelle, your post mentions authentic...maybe I was wrong to confuse it with original, so no offense was intended...I'm Scottish/Irish by heritage and I only know this dish as Scottish...as I did say, do as YOU please....and your father is probably your best resource, by all means! And, please do share his recipe with us!

            1. re: Val
              todao RE: Val Feb 22, 2009 05:23 PM

              No harm done; hey, the Champ is Irish ;>)
              I've got some of that Scotch-Irish stuff in my veins too. But it's diluted with half a dozen others so I can't claim any fanciful association with the origination of Shepherd's Pie. I do believe, however, that it is more closely associated with Northern England the Ireland. I wonder if it came to be a more common dish for the Irish when they were fleeing the potato famine and migrating to England where they suffered greatly and many an Englishman trying to help may have used something like a Shepherd's Pie to stretch the food dollar. That's pure speculation, of course, but I like the romance in the idea. Can't forget that this is a foodie forum, not a European history forum. So I'll leave that subject alone here.

              1. re: Val
                CadienBelle RE: Val Feb 22, 2009 08:13 PM

                Actually Flora's post mentioned authentic. I was just replying about the cheese. No harm done :)

                My dad never puts cheese in his but some other family member's do... hence the reference to Ireland and England.

                Dad puts stout in his pie... maybe that's what makes it so good... ;)

                As soon as I can pin him down I'll get the recipe.

                1. re: CadienBelle
                  Elora RE: CadienBelle Feb 23, 2009 08:28 AM

                  That would be great Cadien, would appreciate it!

                  1. re: Elora
                    CadienBelle RE: Elora Feb 25, 2009 11:35 AM

                    Dad's Shepherds Pie

                    russet potatoes, about 4 large or 5 medium , cut into cubes and boiled
                    cream or half & half
                    S&P to taste
                    1 egg whipped into potatoes
                    (if you have leftover taters, by all means use them just remember to whip an egg into them before putting on filling.)

                    about 2 lbs. of lamb roast from previous meal, minced or ground lamb can be used
                    enough olive oil and butter to saute vegs.
                    2 carrots peeled and chopped
                    1 lg. onion, chopped
                    2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
                    chopped leeks or scallions, whichever you have
                    (if you have gravy leftover from the lamb use it, but if not use the following)
                    3-4 tbls butter
                    3 tbls AP flour
                    about 3/4 bottle stout
                    1 cup good beef stock, homemade is best
                    good dose of worcestershire
                    fresh chopped thyme
                    if using ground lamb a little fresh rosemary can be added

                    While potatoes are on the boil, make the following:

                    Saute carrots and onion until they start to brown. Season with S&Pand add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Remove vegs. and add 3-4 tbls butter and the 3 tbls flour and cook until the flour is browning nicely. Add stout, broth, worcestershire and thyme and cook until desired constinency is reached. Should be a thick gravy. If you think it's too thick add more broth or stout. Check for seasonings and add if needed. Combine meat and vegs. with gravy and put into casserole dish. Spoon mashed potatos over meat. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown good.

                    These amounts are approximate. Dad just uses what he has and the amount he thinks he needs for the amount of meat used.

                    1. re: CadienBelle
                      coll RE: CadienBelle Feb 25, 2009 12:05 PM

                      Thank you so much, I have a new recipe in case I don't find that darn recipe card. This looks great! Although I will still put cheese in my potatoes, for old times sake.

                  2. re: CadienBelle
                    coll RE: CadienBelle Feb 23, 2009 11:27 PM

                    I took out my old recipe a few days ago to see how much lamb to get, and now I CAN'T FIND IT! (I'm famous for absent mindedly throwing things in the garbage, I'm starting to think that's where it went). But in a way, it's good, as I'm looking around at other recipes trying to jog my memory and finding lots of great new ideas. The stout is the best one yet, instead of wine, I will definitely be trying that. And I saw leeks mentioned somewhere, that could only make it more authentic I think.
                    Re: the cheese, I always mix in a little shredded white cheddar with the potatoes, and also some parm on top (along with lots of paprika).

                    It's too bad Search only goes back a year, I know I posted my recipe a few years ago. Maybe I'll eventually figure out a way to retreive it before St Pats Day. If I do, I'll put it here. Another good reason to share recipes! At least in my case.

                    1. re: coll
                      mirage RE: coll Feb 25, 2009 04:29 AM

                      You can change the search criteria - just change the one to a 5, or some such.

                      1. re: mirage
                        coll RE: mirage Feb 25, 2009 10:59 AM

                        Wow, I totally did not know I could do that, thanks so much. I glanced through all the pages, and found one post where I said I would give the recipe later but obviously didn't. My bad. If I don't find it, maybe I'll just create something even better.

              2. re: Val
                Ruth Lafler RE: Val Feb 25, 2009 04:24 PM

                You're right -- technically, it's not shepherd's pie unless it's made with SHEEP (lamb or mutton). If it's made with some other meat it's more properly called "cottage pie."

              3. re: CadienBelle
                Elora RE: CadienBelle Feb 22, 2009 07:47 PM

                I had it with an offer of cheese on top, in an Irish pub run by a chef from Ireland. My BF, who's heritage is Irish/Scottish said he's seen it come with cheese on top frequently in his travels. Personally, prior to that I'd never seen it offered that way, however, I'd never had it made by a native of Ireland before so that's what led to my asking.

                Personally, I wasn't crazy about the cheese on it, seemed overkill to me (this from a cheese nut no less). The champ alone was perfectly fine for me.

                As for it being Irish or Scottish, or even possibly northern England in origin, I'd be interested but my knowledge of it was always Irish. Anyone that ever made it for me was of Irish heritage and I've only seen it on menus in Irish places.

                Note to Val. I don't think anyone was questioning the fact that it's made with lamb. I thought that was a given.

              4. k
                KiltedCook RE: Elora Feb 22, 2009 06:39 PM

                I learned to call the Lamb version "Shepherds Pie" (sheep-herder), and the Beef version "Cottage Pie". Any old "mash" on top. I like a mix of turnips & potatoes, or even Rumbledethumps. Cheese? I don't but I can see where a sprinkling of grated/shredded would be nice...

                3 Replies
                1. re: KiltedCook
                  maplesugar RE: KiltedCook Feb 22, 2009 07:41 PM

                  and the french (Quebecois) version that I grew up with is called pâté chinois. How such a British dish could be called "Chinese Pie" I'll never fully understand.

                  Mom always made it with ground beef as the base layer, corn in the middle and mashed potatoes on top - and a bottle of heinz on the table :)

                  1. re: maplesugar
                    tmso RE: maplesugar Feb 23, 2009 02:04 AM

                    The québécois never cease to amaze; pâté chinois? I wonder whether that's from a misunderstanding, a mistranslation, or if it's just a completely crazy name. In France, it's called hachis parmentier (if beef), or parmentier de X, when made with X; both named after a man who popularized potatoes in France in the late 18th Century.

                    1. re: maplesugar
                      breakfastfan RE: maplesugar Feb 25, 2009 05:44 AM

                      My canadian grandmother called it "chinese pudding" and added a can of peas before the mashed. And always served with ketchup.

                  2. Emmmily RE: Elora Feb 23, 2009 08:44 AM

                    I posted back in December looking for a recipe and got a ton of responses (and debate, of course!) I ended up using this recipe, which was delicious: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ho... Technically a "cottage pie," since it calls for beef, but you could easily use lamb instead. I subbed out cheddar for the Parmesan too. The rest of the thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/582331

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Emmmily
                      Elora RE: Emmmily Feb 23, 2009 01:06 PM

                      Fantastic! I'll be subbing lamb, since the BF just gave up beef. Thanks for linking the other thread too.

                      1. re: Elora
                        Emmmily RE: Elora Feb 23, 2009 01:18 PM

                        I actually don't eat (non-organic) beef either, so I ended up using ground buffalo meat instead. One giant leap away from "authentic," but hey, it's what I had on hand. A pinch of nutmeg added to the mashed potatoes really added something too. Enjoy!

                    2. j
                      JudiAU RE: Elora Feb 23, 2009 03:05 PM

                      This is a class and traditional recipe: http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/...

                      We use another one of his recipes for the joint. Very simple. Roast shoulder or leg on onions very slowly. The juices are beyond delicous both when the joint is served and in the pie.

                      1. m
                        madwrk RE: Elora Feb 23, 2009 04:12 PM

                        My family's shepard's pie was actually pretty funny when I think about it. Nothing more than ground beef cooked till good and brown - a whole lot of worcestershire sauce added. Then it was just layers of this lovely ground beef and mashed potatoes then topped with crumbled potato chips - and oh how we loved it!!

                        1. purple goddess RE: Elora Feb 23, 2009 04:36 PM

                          My Scottish Gran used to make it thus:

                          Roast a leg of lamb (or mutton) with trad veggies for Sunday Roast. Use the left over for the pie. (Beef is Cottage pie) Shred the left over roast lamb, mix with leftover roast veggies and gravy, in a pie dish and top with mashed left over roast potatoes.

                          Bake in a mod oven until topping is golden and crunchy.

                          1. greedygirl RE: Elora Feb 24, 2009 12:58 AM

                            I like Nigel Slater's version with a spicy parsnip topping.


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