I am very confused about the name of this dish. Is it cottage pie or shepherd’s pie? Then there is Cumberland pie and St. Stephen’s Day pie, what’s that all about? So, let me get this straight. If it has beef then it is a cottage pie and if it has lamb then it is a shepherd’s pie? It seems kind of morbid to call it a shepherd’s pie because it puts in mind a picture of a sweet old man watching over a herd of innocent little lambs with fleece as white as snow. This is how they are differentiated? Oh, and if it has breadcrumbs then it becomes Cumberland pie. What meat is in that? If you use turkey or ham then you’ve made a St. Stephen’s Day pie.
As if all of that isn’t confusing enough, you still have the question of origin. It seems that this dish is claimed by many cultures and there are many variations. Is it Irish or English? Apparently in Chile there is a variation called pastel de papa.
The bottom line is that it is essentially a meat and vegetable stew topped with mashed potatoes and baked. I am just going to stick with calling it shepherd’s pie, even though I used beef, because that is what I have always known it as. As to origin, it doesn’t matter who holds claim to this idea. The only thing that matters is that I made my gringa version in Chile and it tastes great. I am sure that it would taste just as good if you make it wherever you are with your spin on it.
For some reason this dish is not very common in the U.S. I can’t say that I ever ate it when I was growing up there and I don’t know why. It is so good and very simple. I made it to my family’s taste. I skipped adding tomato and went for a very simple, yet flavorful dish with ground beef and vegetables that my family enjoys. I also lightened the dish by sneaking in some cauliflower with the potatoes and no one could tell the difference. Any vegetables can be added and/or replaced in this dish with ones that you prefer.
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium brown onion, chopped
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped into small chunks
- 1/2 cup whole kernal corn
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock (I used homemade)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Cover cauliflower and potatoes with water in a medium sized pot of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove cover and cook until softened. Drain and mash with cream, butter, salt, and pepper.
- For The Filling: While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef in large skillet until no pink remains. Drain and pour Into large bowl or dish. Cover with inverted plate or towel and set aside.
- Add olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, and broccoli to same skillet and sauté over medium heat until softened. Toss ground beef with flour and add to skillet. Pour in stock, milk, and corn. Stir until sauce is thickened, then remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Divide filling among 8 ramekins. Divide and spoon topping over filling and spread with the back of a spoon to even. Sprinkle parmesan over each and place on parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops begin to brown. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe is a great way to use leftovers and is overall, a very balanced meal. My family (picky eaters included) loved this dinner. It has been officially added to my list of go-to dinner recipes