It occurred to me whilst I was making it that the shepherd’s pie was in fact a cottage pie!
I had never really thought that there might be a difference but if I was using beef mince then perhaps it might not be a shepherd’s pie at all. But then was it as simple as saying that a shepherd’s pie was made out of minced lamb and a cottage pie out of beef.
Having made it and put it in the oven to cook I trawled through some of the books in the kitchen to see if there was any discussion to be had on the point. Rather to my surprise there wasn’t much to be found.
In fact there were no recipes for cottage pie. All I could find were recipes for shepherd’s pie were made out of lamb – either minced or leftover.
I was eventually able to find a recipe for cottage pie in a copy The Women’s Institute Book of pies and Puddings in which there is a whole chapter under the heading Shepherd’s and Cottage Pies.
The cottage pie was made from beef and had the bright suggestion of including some horseradish.
It was too late to include horseradish in the pie but I had cooked three plump beetroot last night. So I was able to dig up some horseradish from the garden (where it is growing like a weed), grate it until my eyes watered and then pureed it with a beetroot . A bright pink warming gloop to go with the cottage pie tonight.