Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Shepherd's Pie

742 of 1164 nominations


Shepherd's Pie

Is this an icon?


Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie, as the name indicates, is made with minced lamb. Cottage pie is made with minced beef. Both, however, are pies without pastry, topped instead with creamy mashed potato, cutting out the middle man, as it were, and going straight for the good stuff! Logical as the name shepherd's pie may be, it does not seem to have been in use before late Victorian times, but the dish itself must have been a staple long before this. If nothing else, it can be a great way of using up leftovers from your Sunday roast. Alongside the meat you can include all kinds of vegetables, most commonly onion, carrots and celery, but peas, mushrooms and sweetcorn have been known to make an appearance. The best thing about shepherd's pie is the fun to be had with the mashed potato topping. Do you fluff the potato to make it stand in little peaks forming a crispy crust when baked? Or do you prefer to carve out intricate patterns to decipher when it’s ready to eat?

Photo: Liz Doyle


Your comments

The Shepherds Pie is as about as English as you can get. Essential for clearing up odds and ends in the kitchen after the weekend. English comfort food that warms a chilly winters evening.

Duncan Roy

it's the very best british food ever....much better than shepherd's pie (too dry) it was my favorite thing I had to eat when visiting England (each of three times) It's known to be a quintessential british dish, meat and potatoes and all that.
Pam McClung

A staple across Canada, available from about 7 frozen food companies and every family restaurant, and in every configuration you mention. I've even had it in New York State. It seems to me that if you folks want to have an English icon, you'd better make a bit more sure that the item selected is unique, or when the results are announced, people in other countries are going to "larf their 'ed's orf, mate" (speaking from the pages of the 1958 Beano or Dandy). The only exception is fish and chips -- available all over the world, but British to the core.
Bruce Armstrong

View All Comments (2)



I nominate the English weather.