Shepherd's pie, of English origin (so I read) is considered a humble home cooked dish; minced or finely chopped lamb, slow cooked with a variety of veggies and then baked with a layer of mash potato over the top in a single dish, with the mash crisping up nicely in the oven. I just love it, not only because it's lamb but also because it's your meat, veggies and potato all in one big scoop, out of the baking dish onto your plate.
Now to be specific on terminology, traditionally shepherd's pie only refers to this dish when using lamb/mutton, because of the "sheep herding" reference in the name. Cottage pie, on the other hand, can actually refer to either beef or lamb, or any other meat that might be available at the time of cooking.
After testing many variations of what are (allegedly) classic shepherd's pie recipes, I have settled on the version below as it provides a great hearty flavour for those nights when you simply crave a super tasty, down to earth, good meal with no fuss attached. Although this recipe is kind of traditional in foundation there are a few little added extras to enhance the flavours. I also recommend slow cooking the 'filling' for about an hour and a half or longer if you have the time. Many recipes you'll find are satisfied to cook the meat filling in about 30 mins but I find this short period doesn't allow enough time for the flavours to combine enough. Slow cooking this recipe works well here - the same way it does for stews and casseroles (for example beef bolognese) . The result is lots of flavour in every bite. Now if you are well planned, making it the day before is even better.
Here I am focused on lamb, of course, as the base meat, however the exact same recipe can be used with beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, venison or any other meat you might like to try.
So have a go, let me know.