Shepherd's Pie - a survey
Replies: 91 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 2:33 PM Last Post By: callippo
Sep 24, 2012 6:42 AM
30Without going to google and not being connected to anything British, certainly no childhood memories either....
The main two ingredients are minced meat (lamb) and mashed potato. The only thing I can't remember whether there's any pastry. And gravy? Not sure...
I've tried it once or twice only.
As for the name, I used to think the shepherd's pie must have been popular with shepherd families in the country side, the rolling hills of Yorkshire, dotted with white spots (or sheep as seen from a distance).
Sep 24, 2012 7:23 AM
31Not only I am not going to google, OP, I'm not even going to read others' replies (without wishing to seem disrespectful).
We've been through this a few times in the last decade and the obvious answer is this: shepherds tend sheep and, by definition, shepherd's pie has sheep or lamb meat in it - and only this type of meat.
If chefs and others want to have fun mixing meats, fine - but a true shepherd's pie contains only (baby) sheep meat.
Sep 24, 2012 7:48 AM
32We've been through this a few times in the last decade and the obvious answer is this: shepherds tend sheep and, by definition, shepherd's pie has sheep or lamb meat in it - and only this type of meat.
this is just an assumption. The earliest Shepherd's Pie recipes, and called Shepherd's Pie, do not mention anything about sheep meat, be it lamb, or mutton. The Cottage Pie Wikipedia article (tellingly, there is no Shepherd's Pie article) is quite good in my opinion and puts it like this :
Cottage pie or shepherd's pie is a meat pie with a crust of 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 (cf. "cottage" meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).
In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.
The term "shepherd's pie" did not appear until 1877 and since then it has been used synonymously with "cottage pie", regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton. More recently, the term "shepherd's pie" has been used when the meat is lamb the theory being that shepherds are concerned with sheepand not cattle. This may, however, be an example of folk etymology.
the precise etymology of both Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie is totally unknown. Just guessing it, because it sounds kind of plausible, is not good enough.
Sep 24, 2012 7:55 AM
Sep 24, 2012 7:55 AM
34This was your question:
And the answer to that is spiced lamb and mashed potatoes. If you wanted to know what wikipedia said it was, why didn't you ask that question instead?
It seems you asked the question the way you did so you could turn round and tell people that they were wrong. Which is a bit sad to be honest.
Sep 24, 2012 7:57 AM
35Like nutrax, I hadn't heard of Shepherd's pie until I was well into adulthood. When I saw it on a menu at an Irish Pub (in Maryland) it didn't appeal to me - made with ground beef. I would like to try it some time but only if it's made with lamb. I don't know what it should technically be but lamb sounds more right to be and I'm not all that fond of ground beef dishes (other than hamburgers of course).
Sep 24, 2012 8:09 AM
36In USA they also sometimes put sweetcorn in between the meat and the tats. I like the idea that a name denotes the contents, for example if I order Lobster Pie in Maine I don't want to see scallops or shrimp hanging about in there...and if I finish off with a Key Lime Pie please don't make it with
regular lemons and add a dash of green coloring for that 'authentic' feel.
My biggest take away with Shepherds pie in bars and restaurants is that it is usually very greasy...so I never usually order it.
Sep 24, 2012 8:10 AM
37It seems you asked the question the way you did so you could turn round and tell people that they were wrong.
nope. What this illustrates is that the meaning of words and expressions changes, over time. The original meaning of Shepherd's Pie in 1900, is different today for a lot of people, in 2012. Back then, it doesn't appear to mean a particular lamb or mutton dish - none of the recipes published in the cookbooks at that time, mention anything about mutton, or lamb. But now, unlike then, a lot of people DO associate it with lamb - just because of the name it was given. Whether this is justified or not is not clear. Nobody knows, exactly why Shepherd's Pie, is called Shepherd's Pie. Just making a guess of it, is not good enough.
besides not everybody associates Shepherd's Pie with lamb or mutton anyway. Clearly many people make a minced beef meat pie and call it Shepherd's Pie, even today. Other people don't. They believe that only a lamb pie is a true Shepherd's Pie even though there is no real evidence to support that this is what Shepherd's Pies orginially were. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' or 'correct' and 'incorrect' in linguistics. Words mean what people want them to mean and not everyone agrees.
Sep 24, 2012 8:33 AM
Sep 24, 2012 9:13 AM
Sep 24, 2012 11:22 AM
40a lot of the confusion may be because of growth of convenience foods as in ready meals, where the manufacturers have made this distinction, that the difference between Cottage and Shepherd's Pies, both of which they sell in many thousands, is that one is made of beef and the other one, of lamb.
what might have happened is that the original cottage pie name for the dish, just got usurped by a different name. For whatever reason, people started calling what had previously been called Cottage Pie, Shepherd's Pie.
two rural sounding words.
Shepherd's Pie is the former Cottage Pie. Cottage Pie just got usurped by a different, newer name for the same type of dish. The type of meat it is, is not important. What is important is that it has potato dominated mash on top, it ends up getting cooked in an oven, and that the meat is minced.
Sep 24, 2012 12:07 PM
Sep 24, 2012 6:28 PM
42FWIW, my grandmother always used ground beef in pork pies...I think most people do, or they might use a mixture of beef, pork and veal.
Hmmmm... pork pie smothered in gravy. I so have to have that this weekend...
Sep 24, 2012 10:25 PM
Sep 25, 2012 12:52 AM
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