"Shepherd's Pie" - simply prepared


English and Irish cuisine are not generally considered to be particularly refined and tasty. But it still has some real delicacies to offer that are worth trying. One of these delicacies is "Shepherd's Pie".

Poor man's food from Ireland

This dish used to be a so-called poor man's meal. Poor farmers and other small people who could not afford meat often prepared it from the leftovers from the Sunday meal many times a week. Today, Shepherd's Pie, which is often called Cottage Pie in Ireland, no longer has the reputation of being poor food. Made with good ingredients it is very tasty.

The British and Irish are very fond of the dish and many local restaurants feature it on the menu. It is also served (sometimes slightly modified) in other countries. The Australians call it "Potato Pie", the Americans "Cowboy Pie", the Canadians "Chinese Pie" or "Pâté Chinois".

Whatever the name, "Shepherd's Pie" is a great meal for young and old and is also very popular in this country.

Shepherd's pie ingredients

What ingredients go into a "Shepherd's Pie" and how is the dish prepared?

The main ingredients are ground beef, mashed potatoes, onions, greens and cheese. Traditionally, the minced meat or minced meat is lamb, hence the reference to the shepherds. However, it also works well with beef, veal, pork, or poultry. However, lamb or mutton has a particularly strong taste and gives the "Shepherd's Pie" that certain something.

If it has to be done quickly, the mashed potatoes can also come from the bag if necessary.

The dish tastes much better with potatoes that you have mashed yourself or that have been chopped up with a food mill.

The freshly cooked potatoes are sieved or mashed and processed with milk and butter into a nice, creamy mashed potato. Grated cheese or processed cheese also belong in the dish and it doesn't work perfectly without onions either. Pepper and salt are definitely needed as spices, what else is added is a matter of taste.

Marjoram, thyme, paprika, oregano, but also cumin and finely chopped garlic also go very well with it.

Wenburg passing device
Shepherd's Pie Preparation

And this is how the dish is prepared: first, the desired amount of onions and possibly also the garlic are chopped up and fried in butter or vegetable oil. Then the minced meat and spices are added and fried until crumbly. Then you dust it with a little flour and add whatever vegetables are left over in the household and you like.

Canned or frozen peas, carrots and mushrooms are delicious, but corn, kidney beans and green beans also go very well. Finally, some meat broth, vegetable broth or any leftover gravy is added until the minced meat has the desired consistency.

The minced meat and vegetable mass is then placed in a casserole dish and covered with a layer of mashed potatoes. The cheese can be added in 2 ways. It is either stirred into the mashed potatoes or applied as the top layer as with the gratin. Then the casserole comes in the stove or oven until a nice brown crust forms.

In English pubs, guests are often served a "Shepherd's Pie", in which the mashed potatoes are not simply smeared into the mold but injected into a pattern with a spray nozzle. This enhances the dish visually.

Vegetarians can also prepare a kind of "Shepherd's Pie" without meat by using tofu, lentils or beans instead of ground meat. Sweet potatoes can also be used instead of potatoes for the puree.

Back to blog