I think British purists might insist that Shepherd’s Pie is made from “lamb mince” rather than ground beef, but here in the States everyone I know thinks of ground beef as the main ingredient to Shepherd’s Pie. In the UK this would be called Cottage Pie I believe. Lamb is not overly popular here I guess. I never ate it growing up. Maybe it’s different in different parts of the country. I can only speak for my West Coast upbringing. I do see lamb in the grocery store, but only know one family that cooks it regularly.
For me, Shepherd’s Pie means ground beef cooked with some onion, garlic, and spices, maybe with some added peas and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes. When I was perusing recipes tonight I saw various additions to the ground beef, including:
tomato sauce versus ketchup
different herbs (cumin was the one that stood out, as opposed to the more typical parsley, etc.)
onions and/or garlic cooked with the ground beef
Worcestershire sauce was a common addition, but not ubiquitous
liquid: varied from beef broth to white wine to red wine
Basically, brown the beef (and onions and garlic), add the herbs and liquid and simmer a few minutes. One recipe had oats added to stretch the beef. Another used a mixture of mashed turnips and potatoes.
Then there was the “thickener.” Some recipes had added cornstarch; some had sour cream stirred into the cooked ground beef.
I love seeing the patterns of recipes like this. It makes it so much easier for me to wing it and fix dinner based on what I have around, rather than strictly following some recipe. Mine came out delicious and was, as best as I can remember, based on:
Half of this served 3 of us.0