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Shepherd's Pie the Comfort Food

Updated on August 1, 2017
Shepherd's Pie with a side salad
Shepherd's Pie with a side salad | Source

Shepherd's, Cottage, Chinese or Cowboy Pie

All four of these non-pie main dishes are basically the same. I say non-pie, as they do not have a crust like you would normally think a pie would have. In fact there really is no crust. This has always confused me but so be it.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is also called British or Irish meat pie that dates back to 1791, which is when the potato was first known to be edible as well as affordable. The meaning of “Cottage” according to the Webster’s dictionary is the dwelling of a farm laborer or small farmer. Originally cottage pie would be made with any type of left over meat on the bottom, slices of potatoes on top layered, and when it came out of the oven it resembled a cottage roof tile. Today however, mashed potatoes are usually used as a topping.


Shepherd’s Pie

Why shepherd? This was named in the 1870’s suggested that the shepherd would make this dish with mutton or lamb and mashed potatoes. The shepherd part of this makes total sense to me.

Cowboy Pie

This pie gets its name from the United States and has ground beef for the meat, corn in the middle and mashed potatoes on top. You will also find many times this will have cream of mushroom soup in it.

Learn something new every day. Had to look up the definition of pie and this is what wikipedia stated

A pie is a baked dish, which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savory ingredients. Pies can be either "filled", where a dish is covered by pastry and the filling is placed on top of that, "top-crust," where the filling is placed in a dish and covered with a pastry/potato mash top before baking, or "two-crust," with the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell. Pies can be a variety of sizes, ranging from bite-size to ones designed for multiple servings.

Comfort Food

I have been eating Shepherd’s pie my entire life. Personally I do not like it. My husband and my sons do, so being the nice mother that I am I will occasionally make it for them. I do not think I have ever made it the same way twice though as I keep trying to find a way to make it so that I too can enjoy it. Last night “BINGO” I liked it, even had seconds. Decided that I would write a HubPage on this great event and share the recipe.

Cook Time includes boiling potatoes and baking the pie

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 1 hour 5 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: Serves 5-6 people


  • 3 pounds lean ground beef fried and drained
  • 3 pounds of potatoes boiled and mashed with milk and butter
  • 2 cups of frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • 2 cups of grated old cheddar cheese
  • Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning (or any seasoning you may like)
  • Paprika


  1. In a baking dish measuring approximately 10” x 12” layer the ground beef (sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning) onions, corn.
  2. Evenly distribute the mashed potatoes over the top. Sprinkle the potatoes with paprika and place in a 250° oven for one hour.
  3. Remove from the oven and add the cheddar cheese evenly across the top. Place back in the oven and broil until the cheese is melted.
  4. Cut into serving sizes and enjoy!


Does this recipe sound good? Please rate it.

5 stars from 3 ratings of Shepherd's Pie


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Linda, It's one of my go to comfort foods :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 2 years ago from Minnesota

      I am so excited to get this recipe. I love Shepherd's Pie, or any casserole dish like this. I love making things for dinner that have all the food groups in one place. Easy, Healthy (sometimes) and Delicious. I'm sharing this all over. Hit many buttons and voted up.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Eddy, Thanks so much!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a great hub once again for this wonderful hub which I save and here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.


    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks RH :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Ha! Awesome sauce!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      RH and rebecca, Thank you both.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I love your recipes, the way you put them together, and the picture you added. Nicely done!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This looks great, it also totally reminded me I promised Syd imwould make it for dinner tonight! Too funny, I am not kidding - that's why I chose to read this when I saw the title!

      I'm going to try this variation instead though. Thanks!

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Wow.... Thanks for all that effort Susan, must admit I didn't think about the railway connection.

      Not sure I'll be trying that particular variation any time soon. Sounds like a fantastic way to take a very simple and delicious recipe and bugger it up !

      With Pickled Eggs of all things is that another Quebec delicacy ? I remember those things from British pubs served usually with a packet of potato crisps...The girls loved that !

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Pâté chinois is a Quebec dish similar to English cottage pie, shepherd's pie or French hachis Parmentier. It is made from layered ground beef (sometimes mixed with sautéed diced onions) on the bottom layer, canned corn (either whole-kernel, creamed, or a mix) for the middle layer, and mashed potatoes on top. Variations may include sprinkling paprika on top of the potatoes, reversing the layering of ingredients, adding diced bell peppers to the ground beef, and serving the dish with pickled eggs or beets. Pâté chinois (the words mean "Chinese pie" in English) is often consumed with ketchup mixed in.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Had to go and research this Merlin and here is what i came up with from Wikipedia

      Pâté Chinois is not a Chinese recipe. One possible explanation for the 'Chinese' reference is that it was introduced to Chinese railway workers by Canadian cooks during the building of the North American railroads in the late 19th century.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That would be interesting Merlin. Maybe made with rice?

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I would love to hear more about the origins of calling this dish a Chinese Pie or China Pie.

      As far as I am aware the Chinese are not known for minced meat and mashed potatoes, not sure the Chinese even have potatoes do they ?

      I’d certainly like to hear more.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I was born in Montreal Quebec but I have never heard it called China or Chinese Pie. Maybe because I grew up in a Scottish/Irish household. Thanks gigi and carrie.

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      My mother used to call it Chinese pie. I like it once in a while but my son and my grandchildren love it so I make it often for them. Nice hub Susan.

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 6 years ago

      I grew up eating Shepherd's Pie quite often, but my family is originally from Quebec, and they called it China Pie or Chinese Pie. A lot of Franco-Americans in New England call it this. Same pie, different name! :)

      I don't eat meat anymore, but I do like Shepherd's Pie, so I make a veggie version now (actually, I make two: a veg for me and a traditional meat one for my husband.

      Thanks for this post! I think I'll check out the Gordon Ramsay video, too.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Suziecat thanks so much.

      Merlin Yes that would be good as well with the chicken, turkey and mushroom. I have made this with left over pork roast and it was really good.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Truly a great British classic and I might try the Gordon Ramsay version although I have to say it would be a very rich shepherd's wife that used all those ingridients !

      Would it help if I was to point out that you can also do the same sort of pie with Chicken or Turkey and Mushroom ? That's if you don't like the traditional shepherds version.

      Just a thought.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I do like Shepherd's Pie once in awhile. And right now I'm hungry. Great Hub.