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Chef's Notes

Shepherd's pie is a classic British meat pie with a topping of mashed potato.

The defining ingredients are minced meat ( lamb or mutton for shepherd's pie) cooked in a gravy with onions and sometimes vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots, and topped with mashed potato. Whilst not traditional, a common addition to either pie is to top the mashed potato with grated cheese.

The term cottage pie was in use by 1791, when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cf. "cottage" meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers). The term shepherd's pie did not appear until 1854,and since then it is sometimes used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of whether the principal ingredient is beef or mutton. In the United Kingdom, the term shepherd's pie is typically used when the meat is lamb.

The Chilean version of “pastel de papa”, a dish similar to shepherd’s pie eaten in many parts of the world, also contains hard-boiled eggs, raisins and black olives.

The same dish in France is named “hachis Parmentier”, after the Frenchman who convinced his country to eat potatoes. “Hachis”, which takes its root from the English word “hatchet”, means a dish containing chopped or minced ingredients and Indian cooks once considered shepherd’s pie to be a perfect dish for tiffin (a word used to mean a light snack in British India).

Our Shepherd’s Pie is made using the classic recipe using locally sourced lamb from our local butcher from Saffron Walden and comes accompanied with braised red cabbage.

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