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Definition of Shepherd's Pie

Billy33 Feb 10, 2011 07:21 PM

A few days ago I was reading a book, by an American author, that had a recipe for 'Shepherd's Pie' and was amused to see it used minced beef. Then I happened to catch an episode of Rachel Ray where she described a Shepherd's Pie as being made with any ground meat and topped with potato mash. This really, really bugged me. Being the nerdy, pedantic wordsmith that I am, I just have to say it...
The only meat in a Shepherd's Pie is LAMB (hence the 'shepherd' reference).
Cottage Pie is made with minced BEEF.
Anything else would be called a potato-topped pie.

There. Now I feel better.

  1. raygunclan Feb 10, 2011 07:37 PM

    i have to say that i have never had a shepherd's pie with lamb, however, that sounds INCREDIBLE! mine is a leftover beef (or pork, but i've never used chicken and have never ever never had leftover lamb. is that even possible?) mixed with veggies in a sauce topped with mashed potatoes and then smothered in cheese to make it extra heart healthy.

    15 Replies
    1. re: raygunclan
      Quine Feb 10, 2011 07:54 PM

      SORRY RAY Meant to post this to Billy33
      Oh dear. What would Jane Austen say?
      Your use of "minced" indicates to us all here in the USA that you are British. Us folks, we all, and I surely am trying to indicate as many American slang uses as possible, Yes we do "it with ground ) beef. It is cheaper than ground lamb here. heck ground lamb you would have to order special from a custom butcher. Ground beef here is cheap meat.
      Which I suspect the "meat" in Shepard's pie is. My knowledge of food history is that Shepherd's Pie was a use of Leftovers. Leftover potatoes, leftover Sunday roast, etc.
      The likelihood of a shepherd using a lamb vs using (gasp! shall I say it?) really tough mutton is well, unique.

      1. re: Quine
        Val Feb 11, 2011 05:12 AM

        But the scottish shepherds did use leftover mutton (which IS lamb), right? ... some kind of root vegetable (potatoes or carrots or turnips) which was probably the only abundant vegetable in Scotland back in the old days...some herbs and for liquid, maybe mead or wine? David Rosengarten did an episode on Shepherd's Pie way back when his show "Taste" was on the Food Network (in the good old days of Food Network!) and depicted the dish in this way, with a bunch of Scottish shepherds out in the ancient fields.

        1. re: Val
          bushwickgirl Feb 11, 2011 05:42 AM

          "leftover mutton (which IS lamb), right?" Well, it was a lamb.

          Same creature, sure, but the difference between mutton and lamb is a matter of age and flavor. Mutton is from a fully mature sheep, lamb is 4-12 month old when slaughtered.

          Mutton is strongly flavored, sorta tough and not very popular in the US. That has something to do with it being used as a cheap food product in the military, probably during WW I and II, and after a steady diet of it, you never want to have it on your dinner table again, trust me. It just never caught on here.

          Oddly enough, and as a cultural nomeclature I don't fully understand, I see "Goat for Mutton" advertised at my local big supermarket, sold mostly to the Caribbean community here. So, is it goat or mutton? Turns out that it's indeed goat, which is far better than mutton.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            mariacarmen Feb 12, 2011 08:08 AM

            maybe in the Caribbean community "mutton" is the term for a particular dish - like "stew" or something.....

            i had mutton for the first time at a BBQ jjoint in Austin. It was delicious and tender, but of course smoked and sauced so it just tasted like lamb to me - not a stronger flavor than any other lamb i've had because it was disguised by other flavors.

            1. re: mariacarmen
              Will Owen Feb 12, 2011 09:12 AM

              I've noticed that in some Latino markets around LA County "mutton" is sometimes used as the English label for both lamb and goat; though the two meats are to my taste quite different, I think the Mexicans (for instance) tend to use them interchangeably. I've had birria made from goat in some restaurants, lamb in others.

              1. re: Will Owen
                c oliver Feb 12, 2011 10:50 AM

                I've had that same experience with birria. and agree with you that the tastes are quite dissimilar.

                1. re: Will Owen
                  Mr Taster Feb 12, 2011 03:35 PM

                  Will, can you discuss the differences in depth? I've always thought of goat as having the flavor of "lamb plus" but probably couldn't tell the difference unless I were to do a side by side tasting.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    c oliver Feb 13, 2011 02:58 PM

                    I think lamb has a much more distinct taste than goat. I love them both but I would never mistake one for the other.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      chefathome Feb 13, 2011 03:07 PM

                      Same here. Love them both, too. The flavours are totally different from one another. To me goat tastes barnyardy in a good way (!) whereas lamb has a more delicate, albeit at times slightly gamey (depending on the age) flavour. We just had braised goat with paparadelle at a lovely southern Italian restaurant the other night - it was unbelievably tender and incredibly delicious (yet barnyardy!).

                      Whenever I see mention of Shepherd's Pie I think lamb. The best I have ever had has definitely been in Scotland and England.

                      1. re: chefathome
                        Will Owen Feb 14, 2011 01:26 PM

                        I could not improve on chefathome's explanation, though I would add that goat lends itself to very rich preparations perhaps more than lamb does, throwing that "goatyness" up against spices and sauces in birria de chivo, or in Indian curry dishes. We found ourselves at a surprisingly good Indian buffet one afternoon and I visited the goat curry enough times to begin getting self-conscious about it, except that I was not alone. Every time they brought a new pan out of the kitchen there was immediately a new line!

                        I would certainly adore that goat with pappardelle. Braised old overshoes with pappardelle would probably be edible, and I've already got rabbit and beef shanks on my to-do list for future reference, so I may as well add goat.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          Duppie Feb 14, 2011 04:51 PM

                          Not to worry.... Goat curry and goat roti are staples in the islands. To the point that any Fete {Party} or Lime{Get together} in Trinidad is not complete without souse or a goat curry .


                          1. re: Duppie
                            c oliver Feb 14, 2011 05:02 PM

                            We're heading back to Rio in a couple of months. I can buy whole goat legs at the butcher around the corner. (He cuts them in 2-3" pieces on his band saw.) This is giving me some ideas.

                            1. re: c oliver
                              paulj Feb 14, 2011 05:20 PM

                              The least expensive goat at Halal (and Indian) markets is shoulder cut, while frozen, into cubes. It works well for various stews, provided you don't mind fishing out odd sizes of bone.

                              1. re: paulj
                                Will Owen Feb 15, 2011 04:02 PM

                                … and shoulder is about the best meat on any grazing or browsing animal. Now I know why those goat curries always yield a pile of bones on the edge of my plate! But, damn, it's worth the trouble.

          2. re: Quine
            Billy33 Feb 17, 2011 10:16 PM

            Hi Quine, I'm actually in New Zealand. Hence the easy availability of sheep meat. Sorry, when i say 'lamb' in this context, I mean general sheep meat of any age, not necessarily baby sheep.

        2. todao Feb 10, 2011 07:49 PM

          Yes, Billy33, in a pedantic sense, you are certainly correct. But "Shepards Pie" is a term that has been used for a very long time to describe just about anything that has a meat base topped with either mashed potatoes, a pie crust, biscuits, etc. and baked in the oven to finish. Ambiguity is alive and well. When folks ask questions about Shepards Pie I try to help by explaining my responses in that way so they understand where, if anywhere at all, they might have become confused. "Tin Lizzie" is a type of quilting machine, but the old Model "T" Ford is still affectionately know by that colloquialism. I remember when "pot" was something you cooked in; today it's something they smoke.

          1. paulj Feb 10, 2011 09:03 PM

            In the US lamb, especially ground (minced), is rare enough that few of us would have ever made a true Shepherd's pie. So the distinction between using beef and using lamb is more of a British one than an American one.

            I was just looking at the Wiki article, and there was something about the Cottage Pie originally being made with shingled slice of potato, hence the Cottage name.

            It also suggests that the 'shepherds = lamb' connection may be a case of 'folk etymology',

            Also that Irish and Canadians don't make the lamb v beef distinction.

            So if you are in London and see Shepherd's Pie on the menu, expect lamb or mutton. If in other English speaking countries, don't count on it; it may be beef.

            The Wiki article even has a link to a Chow tread

            By the way, in Mexico, tacos al pastor are not made with lamb, though there might a circuitous link to Lebanese lamb shwarma. And the Italian hunter's chicken is not necessarily made with items that a hunter would find. The connection between professions and food names can be tenuous.

            9 Replies
            1. re: paulj
              Quine Feb 10, 2011 09:24 PM

              Still loving Wiki as a valid source and I adore being chowhound stalked. Wiki says..

              Why use a lamb? Since Shepard's or Cottage Pie , is still a recipe where left over meat., gravy and potatoes are used, mutton is the meat. Roasted if young enough, braised if not. Several days later, fill-up pie.
              Lambs, unless born dead, were a profit. Too old sheep, mutton, were food.

              1. re: paulj
                Quine Feb 10, 2011 09:49 PM

                Oh geesh.
                Let's look at al pastor.

                1. re: paulj
                  Will Owen Feb 11, 2011 09:34 AM

                  "And the Italian hunter's chicken is not necessarily made with items that a hunter would find." It's a common error (see the recipe in "Joy of Cooking") to think "cacciatore" means "hunter". The proper name is "cacciatora" and it refers to something made at the hearth, or on the home fire. Same root as "focaccia", which was originally baked at the fire instead of in an oven.

                  BTW, ground lamb is something I've always found fairly easily here in the US. It was in most of the supermarkets in Nashville; it's a little less common here in LA County, oddly enough, but can be found at most Armenian or Middle Eastern markets, such as Jon's. I usually make my Shepherd's Pie from leftover roast lamb, though, which I believe was its original version.

                  1. re: Will Owen
                    paulj Feb 11, 2011 09:50 AM

                    Are you daring to question the accuracy of Joy? Everything I know about cooking comes from there! :)

                    By the way, Joy's recipe for shepherd's pie is: prepare Hash, top with mashed potatoes, bake.
                    (1970s edition)

                    1. re: paulj
                      paulj Feb 11, 2011 12:19 PM

                      The newer Joy, 1997, with a lot more international cookery, has a longer shepherds pie recipe in the lamb section, with a note about the beef alternative name. In that book it's an exotic dish like Jamaican goat curry.

                      1. re: paulj
                        Will Owen Feb 11, 2011 01:45 PM

                        I wasn't questioning the accuracy of the recipe, which is a very good one, but Mrs. Becker's comment about how odd it is Italian hunters can find mushrooms and tomatoes so close at hand.

                        I am avoiding the new, improved version, by the way; I don't consider it the business of "Joy" to BE improved beyond its proper scope as a sort of Larousse Gastronomique of, by and for Middle America. I have 500+ other cookbooks for all the fancy stuff.

                      2. re: Will Owen
                        mariacarmen Feb 12, 2011 08:14 AM

                        and that was exactly how Fabio was pronouncing it - "cacciatora" - thanks for that explanation.

                        tho i'm trying to find something online that correlates cacciatora with something made at the hearth - i just want to see the root of the word.... so "caccia" has something to do with open fire?

                        ETA - i just looked up "caccia" on an italian-to-english translation site and it says "hunting".... i'm not trying to argue or prove you wrong, i really want to know!

                        1. re: mariacarmen
                          c oliver Feb 12, 2011 10:52 AM

                          See the sausage here on DiPalos site:


                          1. re: c oliver
                            mariacarmen Feb 12, 2011 03:02 PM

                            that link says what I (and apparently many others) have always believed the word cacciatore or cacciatora mans - related to hunting. i would like to see something that says what WO is saying - that it relates to open hearth cooking. maybe it's that hunters, being out in the field, cooked their quarry of the day over an open fire.... again, not trying to argue, just trying to find out.....

                    2. TheHuntress Feb 10, 2011 09:36 PM

                      Yes!!! I have been pushing this for ages - being a nerdy, pedantic wordsmith myself on occasion.

                      I try to remind people that a shepherd herds sheep - therefore the pie would contain lamb, not beef.

                      I'm glad you feel better - I'm glad I'm not alone.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TheHuntress
                        mariacarmen Feb 10, 2011 09:45 PM

                        Harters taught me just this. actually, i knew that Shepherds Pie was lamb but I didn't know that when you use beef it was called Cottage Pie - that's what Harters taught me. I have almost always made it with ground or minced (finely chopped roasted) lamb. Delish!

                      2. paulj Feb 10, 2011 09:44 PM

                        Here's a link to the more authoritative FoodTimeLine entry for Shepherd's pie (with focus on British usage)
                        The last recipe adds "Tinned ox-tails, ox cheek, kidney, &c., may take the place of the beef or mutton."

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: paulj
                          Quine Feb 10, 2011 10:20 PM

                          Can,,,oh wait for it...a recipe old enough, that even "tinned" Is science fiction? I bet!

                          OK, any economic folks out there? Would you kill a lamb? As a Shepard? Make it into a pie?
                          Let's face it folks Cottage or shepherd pie was a left over of Sunday Roast. Stillborn or died a few hours later lamb, but definitely a mutton dish. I suspect even in the UK,Mutton is a difficult find.

                          1. re: Quine
                            Duppie Feb 10, 2011 10:52 PM

                            Having grown up with Shepard's Pie I always understood it to be made with lamb or mutton originally but because of the scarcity and expense of lamb rarely saw it prepared with anything other than leftover beef roast,hamburger and at times chicken, but that's a whole different animal.

                            1. re: Quine
                              greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 02:44 AM

                              Depends where you live. Mutton is not that hard to find in my bit of London. Neither is goat.

                              1. re: greedygirl
                                Duppie Feb 11, 2011 04:49 AM

                                Goat was never a problem in south Florida probably because of the large Latin and West Indian population. Lamb always came from New Zealand in those days thus the cost factor and can't remember much mutton but then again never really looked.

                              2. re: Quine
                                Harters Feb 11, 2011 07:55 AM

                                Nope, mutton's not all difficult to find in the UK. Not as easy as lamb, of course, but not difficult. My regular supplier always has both - minced lamb at £10 a kilo and minced mutton at £8.91 per kilo.

                                What *is" difficult to find is hogget.

                                1. re: Harters
                                  Duppie Feb 11, 2011 10:25 AM

                                  By Hogget are you referring to veal? As a child I remember that term bandied about not so much as a meat source but more as in veal shanks for stock.

                                  1. re: Duppie
                                    greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 01:21 PM

                                    Hogget is mature lamb - older than regular lamb but not quite mutton.

                                    1. re: Duppie
                                      Harters Feb 11, 2011 01:57 PM

                                      From memory, in the UK, lamb is defined as under 12 months old, hogget as 12 -24 months, mutton anything older.

                                      1. re: Harters
                                        Duppie Feb 11, 2011 03:43 PM

                                        Good to know. Thanks and I can see why it would be hard to find simply because in America at least very few lamb make it past their 8'th month.

                                2. re: paulj
                                  paulj Feb 11, 2011 08:30 PM

                                  Curiously the earliest 'shepherds pie' recipe that FoodTimeLIne can find is from a book published in Philadelphia in 1886. That one combines the potatoes with some flour to make a soft dough that is rolled and put on top of the meat.

                                  An 1894 London book prefers putting the mashed potatoes on the bottom as well as on top, to better protect the meat. Even the 'Tinned meat, shepherds pie' from the same book envelops the meat with potato.

                                  Anyone every had shepherds pie made with canned mutton?

                                3. Hank Hanover Feb 11, 2011 02:34 AM

                                  Yeah.....(rolls eyes). You be as pedantic as you like but if it has something that resembles a stew on the bottom side and mashed tators on the top side, I'm calling it shepherd's pie. I don't use the term "cottage pie", either.

                                  I'm sure the shepherd's pie reference came from the lamb in the original shepherd's pie but I just don't care. I also insist on calling generic tissue, Kleenex.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                                    greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 02:44 AM

                                    Whether you care or not is immaterial. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb; cottage pie is made with beef. That is fact.

                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                      ESNY Feb 11, 2011 01:18 PM

                                      Fact many places the offer Shepherd's pie use beef. That is a fact.

                                      Shepherd's pie may have originally been made with lamb or mutton but that doesn't mean thats what it refers to today. The definition of words do change over time with usage.

                                      1. re: ESNY
                                        sunshine842 Feb 11, 2011 02:53 PM

                                        all depends on where you are. In any of the British Isles or English-inspired restaurants pretty much anywhere, Shepherd's is lamb or mutton, and Cottage is beef, and they'll bring you EXACTLY what you ordered, should they both be on the menu.

                                  2. h
                                    Harters Feb 11, 2011 07:49 AM

                                    100% with the OP.

                                    Shepherd's Pie is minced lamb and Cottage Pie is minced beef.

                                    If foreigners want to take our traditional foods, make them in their own way, with their own choice of ingredients but still call it by the traditional name then that is a matter for them. But traditional is not what it'll be any more. Full stop.

                                    29 Replies
                                    1. re: Harters
                                      Quine Feb 11, 2011 08:00 AM

                                      Sorry got my info from a English source,

                                      "This pie was originally a way to use up leftover mutton or lamb.

                                      In my 1851 copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, she suggests slicing or mincing the leftover meat finely, before mixing with chopped onions and placing it in a pie dish between layers of sliced potato. Moistened with stock and baked in the oven, the leftovers were soon turned into a tasty, filling supper dish"

                                      Read more: http://www.essentially-england.com/sh...
                                      "Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management was a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain, edited by Isabella Beeton. It was originally entitled "Beeton's Book of Household Management", in line with the other guide-books published by Beeton."
                                      Sorry I did not check her birth records to see if she is a foreigner.

                                      1. re: Quine
                                        greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 08:26 AM

                                        I'm not quite sure what you're arguing about. Shepherd's pie is made with minced lamb or leftover lamb (I've done both). Make the same dish with minced beef or leftover beef and it becomes cottage pie. That's just the way it is.

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          Harters Feb 11, 2011 08:30 AM

                                          There's some folk will start an argument in an empty room, GG. My mum always used to make shepherd's or cottage pie for Monday night tea, using the leftovers from the Sunday roast (except when she turned the leftovers into rissoles).

                                          1. re: greedygirl
                                            paulj Feb 11, 2011 09:03 AM

                                            So what's it called if the leftovers are a mix of lamb and beef, shepherd's cottage pie?

                                            1. re: paulj
                                              greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 09:06 AM

                                              That's just plain nasty.

                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                Duppie Feb 11, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                Actually that doesn't sound half bad...perhaps now is not the time to reveal that I add raisins to my recipe?

                                              2. re: paulj
                                                Billy33 Feb 17, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                Hee hee, that's a brilliant name. What if you add in chicken mince too? Apart from being a bit odd-tasting would that be 'Shepherds Cottage Henhouse Pie'?

                                              3. re: greedygirl
                                                gembellina Feb 11, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                Indeed, that's just the way it is.

                                            2. re: Harters
                                              paulj Feb 11, 2011 08:14 AM

                                              How old does it have to be to be traditional? According to FoodTImeLine sources the earliest print references to shephards pie date to the 1870s; cottage pie is older. Meat pies go back much longer, but potatoes are a relatively recent import.

                                              1. re: Harters
                                                paulj Feb 11, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                How come the beef version isn't called Cowboys Pie? Or are eating beef and living in a cottage strongly connected?

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  sunshine842 Feb 11, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                  here's a newsflash...not all beef producers are cowboys.

                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                    Harters Feb 11, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                    I only know one beef producer. I think he'd piss himself laughing if I called him a cowboy. Here's a photo of Jim and his family and their website:

                                                    I suspect calling something "cottage pie" will have been a recipe writer's idea simply describing a frugal meal of leftovers, such as might be eaten by pooer people living in cottages.

                                                  2. re: Harters
                                                    chefathome Feb 13, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                    Harters, I am in full agreement with you! If I saw Shepherd's Pie on a menu, for example, I would be sorely surprised and disappointed if it was anything but lamb or mutton.

                                                    1. re: chefathome
                                                      paulj Feb 13, 2011 03:49 PM

                                                      Have you ever seen it on a menu in the USA or Canada - with the correct meat?

                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                        chefathome Feb 13, 2011 04:42 PM

                                                        Yes, in Canada - Toronto, Victoria and a tiny little village in Saskatchewan.

                                                        1. re: chefathome
                                                          paulj Feb 13, 2011 05:08 PM

                                                          Can you be more specific about Victoria? That's within visiting distance.

                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                            chefathome Feb 18, 2011 01:58 PM

                                                            Yes, here - http://www.pennyfarthingpub.com/food.php

                                                            1. re: chefathome
                                                              paulj Feb 18, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                              Thanks. I think I came across that in an earlier search, though they aren't adhering strictly to the lamb/beef distinction.

                                                              Last time I camped on nearby Saltspring Island I sought out the locally famous lamb. However the only cut I ended up buying was ground, which my journal notes say I made into "lamb 'loose meat' on buns with shallot, fennel, paprika, salt'. Suppose I could have served it on instant mashed and called it upside down shepherd's pie. :) A proper pie would have required firing up the dutch oven - an extra 40 minutes or more.

                                                        2. re: paulj
                                                          funniduck Feb 13, 2011 04:52 PM

                                                          YES! There is one place that makes it properly and it makes me so happy! And it's so good too!! They also make steak & kidney pie! Now if they only have an Irish fry up breakfast....

                                                          When I see it on a menu at other restaurants, I always ask to confirm that it's lamb only to be disappointed to find out it's beef.

                                                          I actually think the US makes it with lamb because not all Americans like lamb, so they make it with beef to appease our palate.

                                                          1. re: funniduck
                                                            Harters Feb 14, 2011 12:27 AM

                                                            You may right about American palates, funniduck. You see a lot of Chowhound posts where folk say they have never eaten lamb or don't like the taste because it's "gamey" (whereas I'd always think of lamb as a lovely sweet-tasting meat, not at all like, say, venison). You can easily understand that the recipe was changed to suit those tastes and the much wider availablity of beef.

                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                              sunshine842 Feb 14, 2011 01:27 AM

                                                              It may have changed since, but I stumbled across the information some time ago that the US used to have regulations that allowed the meat from a sheep to be sold as lamb long after the rest of the world called it mutton.

                                                              Additionally, the only way that 'lamb' was available was cooked quite thoroughly, then cooked a little longer, and served with over-sweetened mint jelly (not mint *sauce*)-- and only at Easter.

                                                              That would make a lot of sense -- if all anyone had experienced lamb that was as strongly flavoured as what most mutton is and slathered in a sticky-sweet coating that tasted vaguely of mint, it's no wonder people now avoid lamb like the plague.

                                                              Fortunately, lovely lamb from New Zealand and Australia (that really is young enough to be lamb!) is becoming more and more available in the States, as well as information of how to cook and accompany it properly...so the tide is turning, albeit slowly.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                Harters Feb 14, 2011 02:21 AM

                                                                Good to hear. I've regularly visited the States since 1980 and think I've only seen lamb on a restaurant menu once - and then it was a place that seemed to be trying to be European in its style.

                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                  c oliver Feb 14, 2011 07:02 AM

                                                                  Really? I'm surprised to read that. I find lamb shanks to have become almost ubiquitous in certain types of high(er) end places. To the point that one could say 'oh, I hope they have lamb shanks on their menu tonight.'

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    funniduck Feb 14, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                    Since now that we're talking about this, and me being a numbers loving analyst, I had to know.
                                                                    According to USDA, we eat about less than a pound of lamb per year and it hasn't changed much in the last 25 years.
                                                                    Not surprisingly, New Zealand eats the most pounds of lamb per year.
                                                                    New Zealand 57; Australia 30; Saudi Arabia 27; Ireland 20; Bulgaria 15; (United States 0.8)
                                                                    www.ers.usda.gov/data/foodconsumption... (EXCEL SPREADSHEET)

                                                                    1. re: funniduck
                                                                      sunshine842 Feb 14, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                                      is that adjusted for the increase in population?

                                                                      If it isn't, that would actually show a reasonable increase in per-capita lamb consumption -- for the average to stay about the same with an increasing population would definitely hint that lamb consumption has increased ...unless the numbers have been adjusted.

                                                                      I know that when I was a kid, lamb was a once-a-year treat that my mom saved up for...and that every time I saw it in a restaurant as a kid, it was cooked past dead and swimming in sickly green jelly.

                                                                      Now in the US, lamb is easily available (though still pricey enough to make it special)...and I haven't seen a tough grey slab of it in gooey green jelly in decades.

                                                                      YMMV...that's my observation.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                        funniduck Feb 14, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                        i think you should take a look at the numbers in the USDA site and decide after reading. I think that it's staying as is, but you can always disagree.

                                                                        1. re: funniduck
                                                                          sunshine842 Feb 14, 2011 11:13 AM

                                                                          you read it - a simple yes, it was adjusted, or no, it wasn't will suffice.

                                                                  2. re: Harters
                                                                    Mr Taster Feb 14, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                    The US is a big place. I grew up on the east coast (New Jersey) where lamb was a regular part of our protein rotation in our family.

                                                                    When I went to school in the midwest, not a single one of my friends had grown up eating lamb, and in fact my roommate found the aroma and flavor utterly offensive.

                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                            2. re: paulj
                                                              02putt Feb 26, 2011 09:47 PM

                                                              come to Hamilton Ontario. Had the greatest population of Brit imports during the 60's and 70's anywhere in Canada. Tons of British pubs. Authentic. The best though is at my local legion. Use to be all Scots. Best Robbie Burns supper ever! Had to buy tics in November cause they sold out.

                                                        3. c oliver Feb 11, 2011 10:40 AM

                                                          Shepherd's pie = lamb. Cottage pie = beef. I have never lived more than a few months outside the US but I've been clear on that. People can call it what they want but it's wrong. Right? :)

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            paulj Feb 11, 2011 10:57 AM

                                                            On the other hand, i don't recall ever hearing about Cottage Pie until this week.

                                                            The American Heritage Dictionary (1976) specifies just 'meat' for shepherds pie, and does not have an entry for cottage pie. That, I suspect, is typical of American usage. Do you have any idea of where you picked up the distinction? Old family usage? British cookbooks?

                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                              greedygirl Feb 11, 2011 01:22 PM

                                                              That's because it's a traditional British dish, not American at all. I wouldn't presume to lecture an American about hamburgers - so please do me the courtesy of not arguing that shepherd's pie is made with beef. It's just not!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                paulj Feb 11, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                Don't get your knickers in a twist :)

                                                                I'm not lecturing you, or saying that it is wrong to make the distinction. I'm just pointing out that common American usage doesn't. It's like the differences in our car terminology, with your 'foreign' words like 'boot', 'bonnet', 'petrol' and 'lorry'. :)

                                                                While we do share a lot of traditions going back to the 17th c, this probably isn't one of them. I'm willing to speculate that a shepherds pie (with unspecified meat) came to our shores with the Irish immigration of the 19th c. I haven't seen anything in writing to support this, the timing seems to fit. For some reason British traditions like bubble and squeak and toad in the hole never became common in the USA, but shepherds pie in the beef version has.

                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  Harters Feb 11, 2011 02:02 PM

                                                                  Absolutely, paulj, I care not a jot what Americans choose to call their food and how they choose to make it. So, by all means, have shepherd's pie made with beef. It's the sort of quirky thing we love about Yanks :-)

                                                                  However, in the UK, these are traditional dishes - iconic of our cuisine. One's made with lamb, the other's made with beef. Full stop (or "period" if you prefer).

                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                    sunshine842 Feb 11, 2011 02:57 PM

                                                                    All of this breathless defense of the bastardisation of the term comes, by the way, from a culture that uses the term "French toast" and "French fries"...even though those terms don't exist (other than at McDonald's in the case of the latter) anywhere in the Francophone world.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                      paulj Feb 11, 2011 05:28 PM

                                                                      How are those terms any worse than eggy bread or Gypsy toast. The full name for the fries (do you use that term?) is French-fried potatoes. At one time in the US, french-fried mean deep-fried.

                                                                      Of course the Brits never bastardize anything they borrow, do they? Except they did give the world curry powder!

                                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                                        Harters Feb 12, 2011 01:28 AM

                                                                        "Of course the Brits never bastardize anything they borrow, do they?"

                                                                        Well, of course, we do. It comes from the days of Empire and then trying to recreate dishes back on our small cold island off the coast of Europe.

                                                                        I'm interested in your final sentence. Did we invent curry powder? I assume if we did then we'll have been trying recreate the sub-continent's garam masala. Maybe we just imported the already ready prepared masala and renamed it. But, keeping more to the specifics of this thread, I'm amused when I see "Indian" restaurants proclaiming themselves to be "authentic" and then serving, say, a rogan josh with chicken.

                                                                        (Fries? We only use the word to describe those that are the thin American style. Otherwise, they're chips.)

                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                          sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 02:02 AM

                                                                          but that's the irony of it all...French fries never came from France!

                                                                          Deep-fried potatoes were brought to the US by soldiers returning home after WWI. They'd had the deep-fried potatoes in Belgium, but since them forriners were speaking French, the doughboys assumed that they had been in France.

                                                                          So French fries and French-fried has been a misnomer from Day 1.

                                                                          Eggy bread is descriptive...Gypsy toast is along the same line (but you'll not find much of it in the US, by the way).

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                            Harters Feb 12, 2011 02:26 AM

                                                                            I thought that for many years, sunshine. Recently I posted a thread asking what Americans had called them before this. Whilst I'm sure it's true that the Great War will have popularised them, there's evidence that a White House dinner from 1802 served "potatoes served in the French manner". Of course, there's nothing to indicate that this "manner" was what we know as fries - I guess it could have been any of the other French methods of preparing the spud, say, as a gratin dauphinoise. Although you can't rely on Wikipedia for accuracy, particularly as it rarely quotes original sources but, second-hand, it has mention that American cookbooks in the late 1850s were referring to "French fried potatoes". It's be interesting to establish if that's accurate.

                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                              sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 03:45 AM

                                                                              I didn't get that from Wikipedia -- but I don't remember where I saw it.

                                                                              I'm with you -- I'd sooner believe a White House dinner would have had dauphinoise or something similar (at least I'd hope so!)

                                                                              I also wonder if "French fried" at that time might not have also referred to something like sarladaise -- where the taters are fried in duck fat.

                                                                              We'll never know....

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                paulj Feb 12, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                                                On topics like this, Wiki gets references from FoodTImeLIne, which is pretty careful about quotes.

                                                                                Note that there are several theories about the 'French' name:
                                                                                - country of origin (yes, I know about Belgium
                                                                                )- method of cutting into strips (as in frenched green beans)
                                                                                - method of frying (french-fried)

                                                                                Yesterday I read some stuff about potatoes, including the Irish potato famine. Potatoes were not widely planted or eaten in Europe (and USA) until the 18c, and then only after prodding from kings and leaders like Thomas Jefferson. It turned out to be a miracle crop, giving a far more abundant and reliable harvest than grains, especially in war time.
                                                                                Also healthier, with more vitamins than alternatives like corn.

                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                  Harters Feb 12, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                  However, as often, FoodTimeLine fails to quote original source material. All their relevent quotes on the subject are fairly modern (i.e. post 1918) references and, therefore, not helpful to discussion of this potato tangent discussion.

                                                                                  I do, however, spot one inaccuracy. They attribute the earliest reference to British "chips" to Oscar Wilde in 1876. However, the earliest fully documented reference I know is Mr Lees' shop selling fish & chips in the town of Mossley (about 20 minutes drive from here) in 1863 (Wikipedia quotes an ealrier reference in Dickens Tale of Two Cities which would make ealriest reference to 1859.)

                                                                2. re: paulj
                                                                  c oliver Feb 11, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                  I have no idea HOW I know this; I just do. I also agree with greedygirl btw.

                                                              2. c oliver Feb 11, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                                Look under Variations in the Wiki link:


                                                                After reading that I think this thread should be locked. L. O. L.

                                                                1. dagoose Feb 11, 2011 12:34 PM

                                                                  This thread made me laugh. I worked, many years ago, in a British pub in Ecuador (I'm American). I cannot tell you how many British travelers, before they said hi, ordered, anything would inform me "This isn't shepherd's pie on the menu, it's cottage pie, because it is beef". Drove me insane.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: dagoose
                                                                    Will Owen Feb 11, 2011 01:47 PM

                                                                    Avoid insanity by making it properly and/or calling it by its proper name. Easy as, ummm, pie.

                                                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                                                      dagoose Feb 11, 2011 03:24 PM

                                                                      Ah, but I was neither making nor eating it. I made $1/hr (it went a long way there) serving drunk brits crap food that was mostly made in the microwave. I think our menus had been printed a decade prior and nobody was ever going to change them.

                                                                      1. re: dagoose
                                                                        Will Owen Feb 11, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                                        Ah-HA! The "I vas chust doink my chob" defense …

                                                                        No, no, understand completely. I've had a turn or two flogging stuff I would either never make myself or refuse to admit it if I did. But I am a bit prickly about naming things correctly, and gotten much more so ever since a generation of flaming yahoos started the fad of calling anything served in a martini glass a "martini".

                                                                      2. re: Will Owen
                                                                        paulj Feb 11, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                                        Speaking of pie, in what way is shepherds pie a pie? Does the mashed potatoes some how transform into a pastry crust?

                                                                        In US, most dishes of this type are called casseroles (and there a plenty of variations)

                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                          Will Owen Feb 11, 2011 09:09 PM

                                                                          "Pie" is an old-fashioned word meaning "untidy", among other things - "she flew in, her cap a-pie" meant that it was sitting cattywampus on her head. It also referred to any dish made of bits of this and that, then somehow given a common cover, usually a crust. In many very old pies the crust was only to hold in heat and moisture, and was not intended to be eaten, kind of like the salt-and-flour crust one can bake meats, fish or fowl in.

                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                            sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 02:04 AM

                                                                            The potatoes don't transform into pastry, but they do get a golden crust.

                                                                            "Pie" or "Tea" is also the slang, catchall British term for an informal evening meal -- dinner or supper to Americans.

                                                                        2. re: dagoose
                                                                          02putt Feb 28, 2011 06:25 AM

                                                                          who travels that distance to eat food they eat at home? Maybe, just maybe if they opened their mind a little they may discover the Ecuadorians' version is better than the traditional. Just a thought.

                                                                          1. re: 02putt
                                                                            c oliver Feb 28, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                            LOADS of people don't travel for the food. So when they travel, why wouldn't they look/hope for what they're accutomed to?

                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              02putt Feb 28, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                              I didn't say they travel for the food. What I said was you would think they would want to try something ethnic to the region that are visiting.

                                                                              1. re: 02putt
                                                                                c oliver Feb 28, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                                Why? If they don't care about food, why would they want anything "different"? I have neighbors who've gotten big into cruising to warm places in the winter. Think Caribbean and Latin America. They were gone for a month last year and not once did they eat lunch in any of the ports. Not because they're cheap but because trying new foods is of no interest to them. Such is life.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  02putt Feb 28, 2011 01:18 PM

                                                                                  Too each their own but I think they are robbing themselves. I've been on cruises and I must confess the amount and choices of food were overwhelming. But this is the best time to try something new. If it's new to me I'll try a little bit and go back for more or fore go it if I don't like it. I think the eel I had cured me of my curiousity about what they tasted like. It was delicious at the time but I could not get of the "eel" smell out of my skin. It was really strange really.

                                                                                  1. re: 02putt
                                                                                    c oliver Feb 28, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                                                    But that's the point I'm making. YOU think they're robbing themselves. They're completely happy. That's only one reason we could never travel with them.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                      02putt Feb 28, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                                                      That's what I said but I also said to each their own. It's not like I'd pester them to try something. I also think anything you can do whether it has to do with cooking or not is an education.

                                                                        3. j
                                                                          JudiAU Feb 11, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                          Yes, it always annoys me too.

                                                                          I've always thought a good alternative name for a pie made with beef would be "Cowboy Pie."

                                                                          And it isn't made with ground meat at all, but leftovers from a roast with the gravy forming the basis of the sauce.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JudiAU
                                                                            sunshine842 Feb 11, 2011 02:55 PM

                                                                            like mentioned above, not all who raise beef are cowboys.

                                                                            1. re: JudiAU
                                                                              paulj Feb 11, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                                              there are some references to cowboy pie, though the seasoning leans toward the SW chili, and doesn't necessarily use mashed potatoes.

                                                                              There's another thread about a beef stew with biscuit topping. Tatertots are an alternative 'hot dish' topping. And I grew up with a 'wiener pie' - with sliced wieners instead of lamb, and cornbread instead of mashed.

                                                                            2. h
                                                                              Harters Feb 12, 2011 01:34 AM

                                                                              So, as Americans call both a beef or lamb pie a Shepherds Pie, I assume it's therefore in the context of a protein topped with mashed potato. Would they then also call the same product made with fish a Shepherd's Pie? Serious question intended with we Brits having separate names for the beef and lamb and a third for the fish variety - we'd call it fish pie.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 02:06 AM

                                                                                and only the French would then in turn call it "hachis parmentier" for both shepherd's and cottage pie...and brandade de morue for 'fish pie'.

                                                                                I laughed out loud in the store when I figured out that "Hachis Parmentier" was just meat pie.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                  chickenbruiser Feb 12, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                                                  here in Quebec we just call it pate chinois which eliminates the shepherd and the cottage... plus it has canned cream corn.... :)

                                                                                  1. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                    paulj Feb 18, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                                                    But that raises a further question - what does China have to do with a layered meat, corn and potatoes? Was it made by Chinese railway cooks? Or come from China Maine?

                                                                                    After reading about A Parnentier, I'm inclined to used the Hachis Parmentier name just to honor him, and to avoid offending any Brits with my misuse of shepherds/cottage pie. Looks as though the French allow some flexibility in preparing this dish, whether it be the fancy stuffed potato version or something more humble. Only problem is, I'm not sure how to pronounce the French. Maybe I should use a rough translation - French hash!

                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                      sunshine842 Feb 18, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                                      more or less -- ashees pahrmahnteeyay

                                                                                      They make it with confit de canard, too, which is as delicious as it sounds, though I've seen ham and fish, too (not at the same time!) I'm not a big fan of the fish, but I'll eat it.

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                        paulj Feb 18, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                                                        Some years ago I bought Gourmet's Basic French Cookbook, which is based on the notes from Louis Diat, chef at the NY Ritz for 40 years (1910-50). That has a recipe for 'Hachis d'Agneau a' la Ritz' - lamb hash with potatoes a la Ritz.

                                                                                        He writes that during the depression they made a lot of hashes with leftovers, with different sauces, and various borders. Their Red Plate lunches were particularly popular.

                                                                                        This recipe looks fairly straight forward - gravy with diced left over lamb (or beef), creamy mashed potatoes, topping with grated cheese and bread crumbs.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                          sunshine842 Feb 19, 2011 02:48 AM

                                                                                          that's all it is...easy stuff.

                                                                                      2. re: paulj
                                                                                        chickenbruiser Feb 22, 2011 10:22 AM

                                                                                        I did look up a wikipedia definition that includes both your possible reasons, but I don't buy them... sounds like some bored academic's "brilliant" hypothesis...
                                                                                        my grandmother's explanation wasn't any better... she said the ingredients were layered upside down and since China was on the other side of the world it was also upside down...
                                                                                        but I tend to believe this one...

                                                                                        Alors? Une poignée de vieux livres de recettes publiés au début du siècle dernier au Québec pourraient bien remettre les pendules à l'heure. Le pâté chinois commence à y apparaître dans les années 1920, mais sous des traits qui nous sont peu familiers aujourd'hui. Pour cause. Il s'agit en fait d'un plat composé d'une couche de riz, d'une couche de viande hachée et d'une autre couche de riz, le tout passé au four. Ce riz, largement associé à la culture asiatique, donnerait du même coup un début d'explication sur l'étymologie du plat national.

                                                                                        Vraisemblablement une variante avec riz du Sherpherd's pie des Irlandais (un plat de deux étages fait de viande hachée recouverte d'une pâte, d'une purée de pommes de terre ou de riz, selon l'humeur), ce drôle de pâté chinois est d'ailleurs présenté sous l'appellation «pâté berger» dans Les Recettes de madame curé, une compilation des vieilles recettes de presbytères faite par Pierrette Baudouin en 1995 (Éditions Logique). Le Cercle des fermières du Québec le présente dans ses publications sous le nom de «pâté chinois au riz».

                                                                                        essentially it says that the dish was originally made with rice instead of potato... thus the association of rice with asian cooking... in other recipes it was made with rice or potato or both... but today it is made with potato.

                                                                                        ... nobody in quebec says hachis parmentier unless they are originally from france

                                                                                        1. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                          paulj Feb 22, 2011 02:46 PM

                                                                                          It's curious that the google translator renders this dish "The Chinese block"

                                                                                          In Alaska there's a salmon pie that uses layers of rice, cabbage and eggs, but that is traced back to Russia.

                                                                                          I made a cottage pie (to use the British term) over the weekend. Vegetables included king trumpet mushrooms (a nice meaty mushroom) and frozen corn (I didn't have any green peas in the freezer). I didn't use a lot of corn, but it added a nice texture contrast. There were some lentils as well, but they did not stand out.

                                                                                          The potato crust had some flour and egg to give some body, and a generous grating of Comte. Over all a tasty and well received dish.

                                                                                      3. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                        02putt Feb 28, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                                        Wow you learn something everyday. Being a fellow Canuck I always thought Touriere was Quebec's version of Shepherd's Pie. Made with a crust as opposed to mash potatoes. (I apologize I haven't quite mastered the accents on the keyboard yet)

                                                                                  2. b
                                                                                    Bryan Pepperseed Feb 12, 2011 04:38 AM

                                                                                    I for one am perfectly happy to make the "Shepherds is lamb, Cottage is beef" distinction.
                                                                                    However, I also (and I think most Americans would agree) believe that a hamburger is just beef - anything mixed in, and it's meatloaf - not necessarily bad, just not hamburger.
                                                                                    Personally, I'd rather focus my efforts on debating with the clueless people not from the eastern coast of the US about what a pizza is.

                                                                                    1. Breadcrumbs Feb 12, 2011 05:15 AM

                                                                                      I'm all about saying what you mean and meaning what you say however, I beg to differ that "the only meat in Shepherd's Pie is LAMB",

                                                                                      My ancestors are British and we have a Shepherd's pie recipe in our family that dates back to the 1880's. We also have Shepherd's in our family. Shepherd's Pie, as it was explained to me, was born of the need to provide the Shepherd's with sustenance after their long days on the moors. Pies were made from leftover bits of any roast and vegetables from the day(s) prior. As it was explained to me, Shepherd's Pie originated because the pie was "consumed by" Shepherd's not "made by" them or "solely" with the fruits of their labours.

                                                                                      Below is a link to an excerpt from "The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, by I. Williamson, 1862" which supports this account:


                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                        paulj Feb 12, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                                                        Nice find with that theoldfoodie link. It refers to a Shepherds pie recipe from an 1862 Scottish cookbook (which foodtimeline needs to add to its quotes).
                                                                                        That book is available on Google books
                                                                                        The recipe is in a section of meat pies, most of them using a conventional pastry crust.
                                                                                        I'm a little surprised how few recipes there are in this book for potatoes.

                                                                                        Shepherd's Pie.
                                                                                        Take cold dressed meat of any kind, roast or boiled, slice it, break the bones, and put them on with a little boiling water, and a little salt, boil them until you have extracted all the strength from them, and reduced it to very little, and strain it. Season the sliced meat with pepper and salt, lay it in a baking dish, pour in the sauce you strained, and add a little mushroom ketchup. Have some potatoes boiled and nicely mashed, cover the dish with the potatoes, smooth it on the top with a knife, notch it round the edge and mark it on the top the same as paste. Bake it in an oven, or before the fire, until the potatoes are a nice brown.
                                                                                        The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, by I. Williamson, 1862

                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                          Harters Feb 12, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                          The earliest British reference to "cottage pie" that I can find is 1791. References to "shepherd's pie" come much later. I'd suggest that this was due to the increasing codification of recipes in the early Victorian era, as cookbooks became more common. Clearly one would only need to codify recipes for different dishes with different names. I'm certainly content, therefore, that in its native land, the cottage and shepherds pies have been seen as different dishes for over 150 years - one made with beef, the other with lamb.

                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                            paulj Feb 12, 2011 10:15 AM

                                                                                            Though that 1791 reference does not specify what meat was in the pie.


                                                                                            I agree that at some point, someone codified the distinction, but when and where that was is hard to say. I doubt if a highland shepherd's wife (after the clearances?) told her husband, 'We are having your pie tonight, using Sundays mutton roast', or 'since the leftovers are beef, it's to cottage's pie'. Please correct me on this, but I don't think any of the 19c cookbooks have recipes for both cottage pie and shepherds pie. If so the codification could have been a 20c attempt to explain why there were two names for a similar dish.

                                                                                            And while the dish had its origin in England sometime around 1800, it was known in the USA by the middle of the 19c.

                                                                                            I suspect pub debates had more to do with solidifying the distinction than cookbook authors or cottage cooks.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                              Harters Feb 12, 2011 12:33 PM

                                                                                              I'm relying on Wikipedia here (as I can't be arsed to do any more detailed research) which gives the 1870s as the time when shepherd's pie was named separately from cottage pie. So I assume that, certainly by that time, there were two distinct dishes in existance to be codified.

                                                                                              Of course, it makes sense that a recipe being included in a cookbook would be much later than the general existance of a dish. Cookbooks in the late 19th cnetury were for the employed cook working in a household and not, in practical terms, for the mistress of the household. I presume that, at least initially, the cook would have prepared it from leftovers as a "staff meal", rather than a meal for the family. .

                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                02putt Feb 26, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                                                                Ahgast...don't let a Scot hear you say that!

                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                          smartie Feb 12, 2011 05:42 AM

                                                                                          another Brit here chiming in with the distinction that Shepherd's Pie is lamb and Cottage Pie is beef. I remember my dad correcting me circa 1962 when I told him what was for dinner as he walked in the door.

                                                                                          1. LaureltQ Feb 12, 2011 08:19 AM

                                                                                            My husband's best friend "made dinner" for us the other night. He called it Shepherd's Pie.

                                                                                            He browned ground beef, added a JAR of gravy (I didn't even know that gravy came in jars!), some frozen veggies, poured it into a casserole, grated some cheddar cheese over the top, and smeared instant mashed potatoes over the top of everything and baked it.

                                                                                            I made a comment about not knowing that shepherd's pie could be made with beef. His response was "Yeah, thats how my mom always made it." No point in arguing.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: LaureltQ
                                                                                              mariacarmen Feb 12, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                                                              i'd say there was more to quibble with about that dinner than the naming of it!

                                                                                              ( :

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                c oliver Feb 12, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                You made me snort, maria! But, ya know, I bet it didn't taste bad and nice of him to cook, huh?

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                  sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                                                  coulda been worse -- everything in it is at least recognizable as actual food.

                                                                                                  Better than slapping down a TV dinner or something that came through a window in a bag.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                    paulj Feb 12, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                                                                    http://www.traderjoesfan.com/Trader_Joes/shepherds_pie/details/ - beef
                                                                                                    http://heateatreview.com/2007/09/07/amys-shepherds-pie/ - vegetarian
                                                                                                    http://www.birdseye.co.uk/fresh-frozen-food/product/shepherds-pie/ - UK BIrdsEye, beef
                                                                                                    http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/tesco-... - UK Tesco Lamb

                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                      sunshine842 Feb 12, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                                                                      all of which would be TV dinners.

                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                                                                    02putt Feb 26, 2011 09:57 PM

                                                                                                    I agree HE cooked for you. Be thankful your husband has friends that are willing to make that effort whether he is a beginner or gourmet chef makes no difference. And who doesn't know gravy comes in a can? Whether you use it or not is not the point. Lots of things come in cans.

                                                                                              2. Hank Hanover Feb 12, 2011 09:26 PM

                                                                                                Wow.. you people really get riled up over names. I'm still going to call anything that uses the technique a shepherd's pie because I don't want to have to explain what a cottage pie or a cowboy pie is. If it is lamb or beef or pork. Ooh! that sounds good, especially if it had mexican spices in it.

                                                                                                Would we have to call it Speedy Gonzales pie? After someone from another thread called something "Sunshine vagina sandwich", I figure we can call it anything.

                                                                                                That reminds me, I have found that the mashed potatoes have a tendency to mask the spices in the stew. Has anyone else had to raise the level of the spices in the stew to counteract the mashed potatoes? I assume it is because of the added fat and starch.

                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                                                  paulj Feb 12, 2011 09:44 PM

                                                                                                  Hey, this is traditional British food! No spices are allowed :) I suppose some L&P would be ok with the lamb.

                                                                                                  Actually I was wondering about using a lamb keema as the base. The web shows me that I wasn't the first to think of Keema (shepherds) pie.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                    Hank Hanover Feb 12, 2011 09:50 PM

                                                                                                    Ok, it's British. We could put a bunch of dill in it. It wouldn't be bland and would still be British, right?

                                                                                                    Besides, at one time the sun never set on the British Empire so almost anything could be called British.

                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                                                      02putt Feb 26, 2011 09:58 PM

                                                                                                      low blow but funny nonetheless!

                                                                                                    2. re: paulj
                                                                                                      Harters Feb 13, 2011 02:23 AM

                                                                                                      I see another repetition of the fallacy of "no spices" in British traditional dishes. Well, of course, on our small cold island we can't grow the exotic spices - but we have a long tradition of importing them. It was one of the significant trades of Empire. Many of the heavily spiced dishes of the Elizabethean era are no longer fashionable but the use of the "exotics" best remain in our baking - particularly cakes and hot puddings.

                                                                                                      However, returning to shepherds pie, I think we're agreed that this was originally a frugal dish not made by the wealthy. As such, as to any dish, flavourings would have traditionally been what herbs we can grow locally - mint, parsley, marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme, etc. Of course, these are the herbs that still feature most prominently in modern British cooking.

                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                        sunshine842 Feb 13, 2011 04:27 AM

                                                                                                        Traditional British food (if well-prepared, of course!) is not only nicely seasoned, but can be some of the most deeply soul-satisfying comfort food in existence. The finest lamb chops I've ever had anywhere in the world were in Runcorn, of all places -- and I still can wax poetic about a chicken and leek pie I enjoyed in some nameless ancient pub somewhere in East Hants on an icy, snowy day.

                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                          Harters Feb 13, 2011 04:53 AM

                                                                                                          You're right! Runcorn's not a town known for its gastronomy :-0

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                            sunshine842 Feb 13, 2011 04:58 AM

                                                                                                            and it was at the resto in the Holiday Inn, no less...I was staying there on business. I had a meeting in Doncaster, and I was shattered and in no mood whatsoever to venture out to find dinner -- so I ate at the restaurant there in the hotel, and was shocked, but delighted to have such a fabulous meal. The wine list was quite good, too..this has been about 10 years ago, so I have no idea if it's still there or not.

                                                                                                        2. re: Harters
                                                                                                          MMRuth Feb 19, 2011 02:40 PM

                                                                                                          One of my favorite Elizabeth David books:


                                                                                                      2. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                                                        02putt Feb 26, 2011 08:56 PM

                                                                                                        traditional Shepherd's pie does tend to be a bit bland with the exception of salt overkill as with a lot of other traditional British dishes compared to today's abundance and variety of spices we can obtain and cook with. But being of Scottish heritage from both sides and the first non born Scot in the family I can assure you you don't mess with their traditions. I have tried to "update" the traditional recipe but must agree with my parents...my nanny's recipe is the best. I still cut way back on the salt but the individual can add it at the table. Trust me we ate this every Tuesday growing up. I still crack up when I think of when my mom use to say we are having mince and tatties for a change. Mince and tatties is basically dissected shepherd's pie. Oh and one other thing...don't ever let an Englishman tell you it is a English dish. You would be asking for trouble if a Scot heard you.

                                                                                                        1. re: 02putt
                                                                                                          paulj Feb 26, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                                                                          Was the Tuesday pie made with left overs from the Sunday roast?

                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                            02putt Feb 26, 2011 10:03 PM

                                                                                                            probably, like a true Scot nothing ever went to waste in our parents' house. I put it down to the great depression and then WWII. My parents were from Greenock which was a major ship building town and had the crap bombed out it on a regular basis. So any food was put to all possible uses.

                                                                                                          2. re: 02putt
                                                                                                            paulj Feb 26, 2011 09:13 PM

                                                                                                            Speaking Scottish recipes, I just tried
                                                                                                            Aberdeenshire Parkin. Parkin is a Yorkshire gingerbread using at least half oats. This Scottish variation makes a stiffer dough that is baked as cookies (to use the American term); closer to the American oatmeal cookie except that it uses English/Scottish oats (finer than cut oats) instead of rolled ones, and is sweetened primarily with molasses.

                                                                                                            At least I think Bobs Red Mill Scottish Oats
                                                                                                            are similar to the 'Scotts porage oats' in the parkin recipe

                                                                                                        2. i
                                                                                                          Isolda Feb 13, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                                                                          And that, Billy33, is why I never order shepherd's pie in an American restaurant. It is almost always beef because beef is cheaper. At home, however, I make it properyl (and often), with lamb.

                                                                                                          It's very easy to find lamb around here.

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                            paulj Feb 13, 2011 05:22 PM

                                                                                                            If it was called cottage pie, would you order it? Or is there no such thing as a good cottage pie?

                                                                                                            If I sound skeptical about the distinction between lamb and beef in a pie like this, it's because I don't think there's anything particularly special about lamb. I've cooked my share, and like the meat, but am not a fan of its fat. My favorite use for lamb (and goat) is bony pieces in a stew with Indian or Latino flavors.

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                              sunshine842 Feb 13, 2011 11:58 PM

                                                                                                              It's a matter of not being disappointed because you ordered something, and it's not what it's supposed to be.

                                                                                                              Sort of like ordering seared tuna and getting a slab of frozen cod. Frozen cod has its place, but not when its labeled as tuna.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                smartie Feb 14, 2011 04:23 AM

                                                                                                                actually it's more like ordering hash browns and getting home fries. Similar but different.

                                                                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                  c oliver Feb 14, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                  Actually, no. More like the tuna/cod. Except for both of them being red meat, they're not similar. They taste nothing alike. If I ordered a lamb shank and got osso buco, I would be quite unhappy and would NOT find them at all similar.

                                                                                                                2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                  paulj Feb 14, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                  Where is that kind of unlabeled substitution common? Company canteens in the UK? British or Irish themed gastropubs in the USA? Minnesota church potluck?

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                    Harters Feb 14, 2011 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                    Unlikely to be substitution in British canteens - as we Brits keep saying on this thread, we have two distinct dishes. If a canteen couldnt get lamb and used beef instead, they wouldnt still call it shepherd's pie, they'd call it cottage pie. Simples.

                                                                                                                3. re: paulj
                                                                                                                  Isolda Feb 14, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                  You mistake me for a snob, I think. To me, there is a big difference in flavor between lamb and beef. I've actually made some of my lamb dishes with beef when that was all I had, and everyone complained.

                                                                                                                  Don't get me wrong--I like beef and would probably like cottage pie if that was what I was expecting, but in a dish where I expect to taste lamb, it would seem a bit off to me. Seeing the name "shepherd's pie" on a menu and not getting lamb would be disappointing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                    Billy33 Feb 17, 2011 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                    Yes, paulj, I'd order a cottage pie - if I felt like in the mood for a beef dish.

                                                                                                                4. paulj Feb 14, 2011 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                  From Cooking Alaskan, 1983, Fairbanks
                                                                                                                  Shepherd's Pie
                                                                                                                  - Prepare leftover shoulder roast of caribou or raindeer by cutting it into medium-sized pieces. Simmer with vegetables ... thicken .. Arrange in a casserole. Pile mashed potatoes on top ...

                                                                                                                  Meat Pie with Potato Crust
                                                                                                                  ... saute onions Mix in the gameburger... add seasoning including a bit of ground chili pepper... spread half the mixture ... slice hard cooked eggs over this ... add remaining meat, leftover masthed potatoes ...
                                                                                                                  p 256

                                                                                                                  The inclusion of eggs in this last recipe may be borrowed from a salmon pie popular in Alaska, a Russian derived Peroche (layered rice, eggs, cabbage, and fish in a pie crust).

                                                                                                                  This doesn't say thing about proper British useage; it just illustrates casual American usage that may go back a century.

                                                                                                                  1. c
                                                                                                                    chickenbruiser Feb 20, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                    okay... kitchen nightmares (some restaurant in New Jersey) episode and "shepherd's pie" was served with beef... he says " That's not Shepherd's pie that's cottage pie..."

                                                                                                                    case closed... cause what ramsey says... goes ;)

                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                                                      smartie Feb 25, 2011 04:24 AM

                                                                                                                      yep I saw that! Anyway he is right.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chickenbruiser
                                                                                                                        paulj Feb 25, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                        Did the change (correcting the name or the ingredients) improve sales? Turn it into a popular stop for British tourists?

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                          Harters Feb 25, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                          Why would a British tourist visiting New Jersey seek out something like cottage (or shepherd's) pie? It'd be odd.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                            Mr Taster Feb 25, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                            I think paulj was speaking facetiously.

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                              Harters Feb 25, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                              I seem to find it difficult to tell.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                              smartie Feb 26, 2011 04:00 AM

                                                                                                                              they do in spain! see all the tourists looking for their English brekkies, and when were were in Marmaris Turkey about 15 years ago you could barely move for Indian restaurants. A massive billboard told us that 'We are the best Indian restaurant in Marmaris. Famous chef from Sheffield'!!!

                                                                                                                              1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                c oliver Feb 26, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                OMG, what a memory that evokes. We were in/on Costa del Sol (Southern Spain) some years ago. Found a just amazing deal. I'd never go back. It was ridiculous trying to find Spanish food for all the English, German etc. restaurants. I got the feeling that that part of Spain was definitely not for the adventurous eater. We prevailed but walked miles in the process.

                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                  Harters Feb 26, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                  I love the Costa del Sol - and it's easy to find Spanish food. You just move back a street or two from the tourist crowds to where the Spaniards live. Or, better, surf the local discussion boards, even if most contributors are other north Europeans - many of us like Spanish food and good local restaurants and that's where you'll find the recommendations (not on a mainly American site like Chowhound).

                                                                                                                                  Now, I grant you, parts of Tenerife can be a bit of a challenge. Not impossible, as we find every year, but a bit of a challenge.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                    c oliver Feb 26, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                    We were in Torremolinos, west of Malaga. Large building, we had a studio apartment. Came with two meals a day and we rarely had anything other than breakfast. We mostly had lunch and dinner out but sometimes bought groceries and cooked which was totally shocking the most of the other people that we met. We would walk a mile or so east (I'm guessing on the distance) and, yes, find Spanish food. But we rented a car for a few days and went to Jerez area, Sevilla and Ronda where we did enjoy the food a lot more. Next time to Spain I'm heading to Barcelona, Bob's favorite city in the world which I haven't visited.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                      Harters Feb 26, 2011 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                      Ah, yes, Torremolinos is very much a tourist resort - probably the most touristy place on the Costa.

                                                                                                                                      I like Barca as well. It's a good "long weekend" sort of place for us (although amongst the Catalan speaking cities, I prefer Palma de Mallorca)

                                                                                                                                2. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                  Harters Feb 26, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  paulj's post raises an interesting point about tourism in general and, of course, more specifically, food whilst overseas.

                                                                                                                                  Something in excess of 90% of British tourists to America are visiting either Florida, Las Vegas or New York City. Therefore, to be visiting anywhere in New Jersey, the Briton would be a reasonably intrepid traveller. That said, I doubt whether there are many British tourists who would find American food to be "foreign", unfamiliar, scary, or challenging that they would want to seek out a cottage (or shepherd's) pie on their short visit

                                                                                                                                  By way of very similar restrictive tourism, a read through Chowhound's UK/Ireland board shows that very few American tourists visit anywhere in our two countries other than London. Similarly, they don't seem to be scared by our food.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                    paulj Feb 26, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                    There was a recent Top Gear episode when the guys drove from Florida to NY, though they managed to pass from Pennsylvania Amish country to the Big Apple without a stop in NJ for cottage pie.

                                                                                                                          2. paulj Feb 20, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                                                                                            I just bought an inexpensive Hemes House picture cookbook of 'Traditional British Cooking'.

                                                                                                                            Someone needs to contact their editors. The Shepherd's Pie recipe calls for '500g lean chuck steak, minced'

                                                                                                                            A few pages later there's a recipe for 'Farmhouse Venison Pie', similar but using minced venison, and a potato and parsnip mash.

                                                                                                                            the Lancashire Hotpot uses lamb chops and kidneys, topped with a neat layer of sliced potato.

                                                                                                                            In the fish section there's Fish Pie - also with a potato mash topping. Why isn't it called Fisherman's pie? No stargazy pie recipe, though. :(

                                                                                                                            And why is the Squab pie recipe in the meat section?

                                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                              Harters Feb 21, 2011 01:46 AM

                                                                                                                              At a guess, if it has a dish using "squab", then I'd suggest that this might be an edition for the North American market and that might explain things. "Squab" isnt a word used in British English - we'd usually call them pigeons. By the by, in what chapter do you think a pigeon/squab pie might be better suited? Surely "meat" seems appropriate - what with it being "meat". No?

                                                                                                                              And you've lost me about our iconic regional dish of Hotpot. It isn't a pie and is never suggested to be one. Think a very long cooked dish, similar to Irish stew, scouse or lobscows - although one with sliced potatoes on top. My mum always used to make it with scrag end chops.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                paulj Feb 21, 2011 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                The recipe for Squab pie calls for lamb and apples, no birds. Given the name I thought it should be under poultry rather than meat. Turns out, it is an endangered British dish. You apparently are one the 97% of British youths who have not tasted it! :)
                                                                                                                                It's a SW England classic (with older references than the shepherd's pie), that may at one time contained squab/pigeon, but no longer does.

                                                                                                                                "Of all the west country pies, squab pie is, in our humble estimation, the most incongruous and the most detestable. The odious composition is made of fat clumsy mutton chops, embedded in layers of sliced apples, shredded onions, and — O tempora! O mores! — brown sugar! The result is nausea, unsociability, and, in course of time, hatred of the whole human race. The greasy sugary, oniony taste is associated, in our mind, with the detested name of Bideford.
                                                                                                                                —Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins, All the Year Round"

                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                  Harters Feb 21, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                  It is kind of you to refer to me as a "youth".

                                                                                                                                  But you're right, I'm not nearly as well informed about traditional dishes from the south west as I am about those from the north west

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                    paulj Feb 21, 2011 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                    I was amused by the story of why the devil never visited Cornwall. He'd heard they put anything in a pie!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                      Hank Hanover Feb 22, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                      That's nothing! General Sheridan of U.S. Civil War fame (or as us southerners refer to it "the war of northern Aggression") has been quoted as saying: "if I owned Texas and Hell, I would live in Hell and rent Texas out."

                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                  paulj Feb 26, 2011 07:53 PM

                                                                                                                                  From a BBC Are you being served? episode:

                                                                                                                                  In the canteen:
                                                                                                                                  Mr Humphries: I'm drinking coffee to get rid the taste of this cottage pie
                                                                                                                                  Mrs Slocombe: When did it start ...
                                                                                                                                  Mr Humphries: I think as yesterday's Lancashire Hotpot
                                                                                                                                  Mrs Slocombe: no I mean ...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Feb 27, 2011 01:33 AM

                                                                                                                                    ...because a 30-year-old slapstick sitcom is such a pinnacle of culinary wisdom.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                      Harters Feb 27, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                      OK, I'm so worn down by all these references paulj keeps digging up, I'm now prepared to accept that shepherd's pie is mainly made with beef and that it's an aberration to make it with lamb. In fact, as the quote he now gives, even Lancashire Hotpot must always be made with beef and not lamb. Calling anything cottage pie is just a modern affectation. OK?

                                                                                                                                      And, on that bombshell, I've wasted enough of my life with this thread and I'm done here.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster Feb 28, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                                        I think you've hit the nail on the head with this one, sunshine842.

                                                                                                                                        However, the gross bastardization of an original is hardly unique to shepherd's pie. Think of the evolution of Pizza Napolitano to Chicago style (one is a flatbread, the other is a casserole).

                                                                                                                                        For those who take such things seriously, calling the Chicago creation "pizza" would likely be as confusing (or even offensive) to trained pizzaiolos, yet millions of Chicagoans swear by it. It all has to to with your perspective, how you grew up, and whether you're familiar with (and/or care to know) only your little slice of history, or whether you are interested in a slightly wider perspective..

                                                                                                                                        For example, someone born in Chicago has the "proud tradition" of Pizzeria Uno in the 1940's/1950's to look back on as having sparked the modern fast food pizza industry, whereas someone from Napoli has thousands of years of Italian, Roman and Greek history to base their proud traditions upon.

                                                                                                                                        So, to the "Who cares, let's eat" crowd, none of this matters. That's the real divide here that's causing the whole kerfuffle.

                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                                          sunshine842 Feb 28, 2011 07:23 AM

                                                                                                                                          actually, I hadn't thought about it that way, but (here's where heads start to spin) -- a Chicago deep-dish pizza isn't really all that far gone from a British meat pie.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                                            paulj Feb 28, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                            I have no problems with the British distinction between shepherds pie and cottage pie. I do have problems with the idea the American usage is a (recent) bastardization.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster Feb 28, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                              If lamb is the eponymous ingredient, then how is American shepherd's pie not a bastardization? Remember, shepherds herd sheep, not cows... it's cowboys that wrangle cattle, and their herding methods are quite different!

                                                                                                                                              Consider this scenario. Imagine you're in a new restaurant order a pepperoni pizza but are served a pizza with sausage. You tell the server, "I didn't order sausage pizza." The server argues that pepperoni is, in fact, sausage.

                                                                                                                                              Would you not consider this a bastardization of a favorite American dish?

                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                                                paulj Feb 28, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                I discussed those naming issues in earlier posts (cottage = beef??).

                                                                                                                                                One new piece of information - I found a reference to fisherman's pie (fish with the mash potato topping). Elsewhere that is called fish pie.

                                                                                                                                                Regarding your pepperoni example - what would you get if you ordered that in Italy?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster Feb 28, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                  This is a straw man argument, paulj!

                                                                                                                                                  This conversation is about bastardized versions of of dishes where the same name carried over (beef shepherds pie and Chicago style pizza), whereas your pepperoni/peperoni example is about two entirely different items which have been given similar names. It's like the Mexican tortilla vs. Spanish tortilla. One is not a bastardized version of the other... they've just been given similar names (wikipedia says "tortilla" roughly means "cake", so under that broad definition it is understandable how the name could have been given to both items independently.)

                                                                                                                                                  So, with that out of the way, could you address the real issue? Would you consider a "pepperoni pizza" topped with sausage a bastardization of a dish that you have traditionally come to know in our culture? Or would you be happy receiving one thing when you had ordered the other?

                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                                                    paulj Feb 28, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                    From what I've learned here, someone going into a British pub has every reason to expect lamb in his shepherds pie. The same person going into a British or Irish themed pub in the USA might find lamb, but shouldn't be too upset if it was made with ground beef. It would be unrealistic to expect lamb in the 'shepherds pie' at a midwestern church potluck. And equally unrealistic to expect anyone to know what you mean when you label your contribution a cottage pie.

                                                                                                                                                    I mentioned squab pie as an example of a British dish that doesn't exactly match the name (it is made with lamb and apples). Another thread reminds me of another dish that has evolved away from its name roots - mince meat pie (on both sides of the Atlantic).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster Feb 28, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                      In a roundabout way (by invoking a direct comparison with mincemeat pie) you're acknowledging my very point, although where I say "bastardized", you say "evolved".

                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                  2. paulj Feb 24, 2011 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                                    An interesting source on historical foods, with focus on UK and Ireland

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                      paulj Feb 24, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                      Melton Mowbray pork pie looks like an interesting pie - a hot water crust is baked freeform (without a mold) with a pork filling. After baking warm pork jelly (a highly gelatinous pork stock) is poured in. It, along with the Cornish Pasty now has EU protection.

                                                                                                                                      Here's a cottage pie with guinness

                                                                                                                                      For supper I used the rest of the ground beef mixture that I'd made Sunday. This time I baked it in a Korean bibimbap bowl, and topped it with tattertots instead of mashed potatoes. And corn as distinct layer between meat and potatoes (still no creamed corn).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                        Harters Feb 25, 2011 01:34 AM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, we have over 50 products now either with one of the forms of geographical recognition or it's been applied for. Ireland has 4.

                                                                                                                                        By comparision, France has over 220, Germany 100, Cyprus 3.

                                                                                                                                        Keeping this on vaguely on-topic, shepherds pie would not get protection as it is not a regional product in the way that the Cornish pasty is (although there was a lot of disagreement about the award from the trade body representing pasty makers in neighbouring Devon)

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