Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shepherd’s Pie



Mashed potatoes are one of my comfort foods and recipes that call for its use are appealing. Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect recipe for me—and easy to make.



Here’s the recipe I use. Click on the picture to enlarge and print.

I was curious as to the history behind this dish and found the following entry by researcher Lynne Oliver at Food
Timeline.

“The English tradition of meat pies dates back to the Middle ages. Game pie, pot pie and mutton pie were popular and served in pastry "coffyns." These pies were cooked for hours in a slow oven, and topped with rich aspic jelly and other sweet spices. The eating of "hote [meat] pies" is mentioned in Piers Plowman, and English poem written in the 14th Century. (Cooking of the British Isles, Adrian Bailey, pages 156-7).

The key to dating Shepherd's pie is the introduction (and acceptance) of potatoes in England. Potatoes are a new world food. They were first introduced to Europe in 1520 by the Spanish. Potatoes did not appeal to the British palate until the 18th Century. (Foods America Gave the World, A. Hyatt Verrill, page 28). Shepherd's Pie, a dish of minced meat (usually lamb, when made with beef it is called "Cottage Pie") topped with mashed potatoes was probably invented sometime in the 18th Century by frugal peasant housewives looking for creative ways to serve leftover meat to their families. It is generally agreed that it originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep--hence the name. The actual phrase "Shepherd's Pie" dates back to the 1870s, when mincing machines made the shredding of meat easy and popular." (The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, page 717).”


9 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Oh YUM! I LOVE shepherd's pie and I make mine in a dish just like yours!

sunnyinspiration said...

I will have to try this recipe!

Pat said...

I enjoyed Shepard's Pie many times when I visited Ireland. Each time it seemed a little different according to the amount of spice used, but was always delicious!

Thanks for your recipe June!

Hugs, Pat

hunnybunny said...

Shepherd's Pie is one of my faves! I tried a recipe like yours this past winter and it was so good. My mom used to make it with ground beef, corn and potatoes. I had no idea the variety of recipes available for it until last year.
I saw a recipe using pork, apples and sweet potatoes. I thought it looked divine,Mr. Bunny was not exactly thrilled with the idea.

rohanknitter said...

That looks really yummy!

Storybook Woods said...

Oh Chloe adores Sheppard’s pies. Thank you for the recipe card. She will love it. Clarice

Mrs.Kwitty said...

That looks scrumptious JunieMoon--I'm gonna print that off and give it a go!! Thank you.
Smiles, Karen

iSew said...

mmmm, we love pies around here. Nick and I can't wait to get back to England and have some pasties & steak and ale pies. Thanks for the recipe!!

Amateur Cook said...

"Click on the picture to enlarge and print." Clicked on, and printed!