Where is the difference between “Cottage Pie” and “Shepherd’s Pie”you ask?, Well I’m glad you asked it’s in the meat. Shepherd’s Pie should only be named as such if it contains Lamb, and “Cottage” usually applies to one made with Beef.
The name “Cottage” was applied to this kind of meat pie around the time Potatoes were being introduced in the UK, because they were an affordable for thing for peasants, many of whom would live in cottages, to eat.
The term “Cottage Pie” predates “shepherd’s” by nearly a century, but each was used synonymously with the other for a long time.
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.
According to the Oxford Companion to Food, once upon a time, Scotland made its Shepherd’s Pie with pastry instead of mashed potatoes.
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).
Recipe’s With Two Variations
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie
Traditional Cottage Pie
Pastel De Papa
Many vegetarians and vegans call a meat-free version a “Shepherdless” Pie. Topping the potato crust with breadcrumbs actually turns your dish into a “Cumberland Pie”.
Although variations of this dish crop up throughout history, no name for it came into use until the Introduction of the Mincing Machine.
Before that, the meat would have to be chopped by hand, or made from leftovers.