Anne’s Shepherd’s Pie (meat and vegetable, potato-topped pie)


Also known as cottage pie, shepherd’s pie has had more makeovers than Marilyn Monroe and, just like the Hollywood icon, the original is no longer recognisable. The difference between a cottage pie and a shepherd’s pie is the choice of cooked meat, beef for the cottage and lamb (mutton in the old days) for the shepherd, naturally. The medium is brown gravy and this can be the seasoned juices from the cooked meat. It was and is not unusual to see home cooks add commerical brown sauce or a brown gravy mix for depth of flavour. The traditional recipe might use a small amount of mashed potato to thicken it, otherwise the gravy is the meat juices heavily seasoned. Onions were the primary vegetable until it was decided that root vegetables cubed small added bulk and in the case of carrots a delicate sweetness. A beaten egg brushed across the topping of mashed potatoes gave the dish some colour, this can also be achieved with grated hard cheese.

  • 750 g potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed with 60 grams of butter and two tablespoons of milk
  • 500 g cooked lamb, cut into small pieces
  • 500 ml meat juices / brown gravy
  • 300 g carrots, cubed small
  • 200 g onions, coarse chopped
  • 1 egg, beated / 60 g hard cheese, grated
  • 45 ml oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

In a large deep frying pan gently fry the carrots and onions in the oil over a low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add the meat juice or brown gravy, meat and seasoning. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Prepare the potatoes.

Arrange the meat and vegetable mixture in an ovenproof dish, top with the mashed potatoes. Coat with a beaten egg or sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 200ºC for 45 minutes.