Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

In this pub staple, gravy is added to minced meat, onions, and any vegetables on hand and topped with a buttery mound of mashed potato is dolloped on top. Get the recipe for Shepherd's Pie »Penny De Los Santos

I have always believed that the greatest English food is every bit as great when turned into leftovers, and none greater than our superlative roasts: sirloins of grass-fed beef on the bone, legs or shoulders of lamb, properly hung and eaten at Sunday lunch with roast potatoes and gravy made from the roasting juices, then minced on a Monday and turned into cottage or shepherd's pies. A cottage pie is made with beef and has a long tradition as a rural dish, as does the shepherdly variation, which dates back way further than the 1870s, when mincing machines were developed and it first got its name. Traditionally leftover gravy is added to the minced meat, along with onions and any vegetables on hand, before a buttery mound of mashed potato is dolloped on top and the whole is browned in the oven. I always feel that the dish needs a little further savory enhancement, so the addition of Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of Tabasco, a squirt of tomato paste, or any combination of the above is permissible. Monday night has been shepherd's or cottage pie night since I was a child. A small break from tradition happened when my daughter Charissa went vegetarian in her teens. After several months she told me, secretly, not wanting her elder sister and brother to make fun of her, that she had decided to eat meat again; she craved shepherd's pie. Order was restored immediately, and the dish brought to the table as it had been for at least four generations of my family. —Tamasin Day-Lewis, author of Food You Can't Say No to (Quadrille, 2012)