Patch's Tavern

Shepherd's Pie is a hearty, delicious meal

Welcome back to Patch’s Tavern.  This week our weekly Bill of Fare is Shepherd's Pie, which is also known as Cottage Pie. It's a hearty, delicious memorable meal.

Cottage pie refers to a British or Irish meat pie made with mince and its crust made from mashed potato.  The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 1791, when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cottage meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).  Though in modern day recipes it is considered standard to use mashed potato as a topping, traditionally it was served with slices of potato layered over the meat filling which, when cooked, looked like the tiles of a cottage roof. This is thought to be how the dish got its name.

This is an 18th-century recipe for the 21st-century kitchen.  The recipe is simple and is made from only six ingredients (ingredient count does not include salt, pepper or butter).  A variation on this dish is known as Shepherd’s Pie and did not appear until the late 1870s, and since then it has been used synonymously with “Cottage Pie.”

There is now a popular tendency for "Shepherd's Pie" to be used when the meat is beef, mutton or lamb.  You can get creative by adding peas, carrots, broccoli and parsnips, if you like. A vegetarian version can be made using soya or other meat substitutes (like tofu), or legumes such as lentils or chick peas.

Prep Time: 10 minutes  

Cook Time: 40 minutes  

Total Time: 50 minutes  

Servings 6

Ingredients ·       

  • 1 lb lean ground beef 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  •  10 oz can creamed corn 
  •  10 oz can cream of mushroom soup  
  •  Salt and pepper to taste ·        
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes (2-3 potatoes)
  • ½ Teaspoon butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In heavy skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is brown and onion is tender, stirring to break up meat, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Stir in cream corn and soup and cook until hot, about 4 minutes, then salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes until tender. Add ½ teaspoon butter and mash thoroughly. Don’t allow the potatoes to become too wet or they won’t crisp nicely in the oven.

Spoon the meat mixture into an oven proof 9-inch pie plate. Spoon mashed potatoes over meat mixture. Sprinkle paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes until potatoes are golden brown and pie is bubbling.

Serve with optional salad or bread.

Judy Lewis February 14, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Sounds great! Will have to try it but I would have to change it a little bit, to fit kosher cooking.
Ingrid February 15, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Looks delicious. Will make it this week.
Amanda February 15, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Cottage Pie uses ground beef, whereas Shepard's Pie uses lamb.
Jill R. Lewis, Freelance Writer- Photographer February 18, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Amanda thanks for your comment.


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