Shepherd’s Pie is originally a British dish made with lamb. According to various recipe websites the dish, if made in its traditional way, is not ever made with cheese. The historic version of the dish is made with lamb, vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Food historians and historians writing about food quite often write that Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb only, not beef and that it originated in the countryside of Scotland which is home to 10’s of thousands of lambs. The plan as it were with this dish is to make to use up leftovers. Contemporary Shepherd’s Pie is made with vegetables, but originally the dish was made with meat, gravy and potatoes. Many chefs use vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions. They make the gravy homemade style with beef broth and add mash potatoes. Other chefs use herbs, spices and vegetables like parsnips, chopped tomatoes and peas, making it more like a modern day pot pie instead of a good old fashioned shepherd’s pie.
Some write it’s Scottish and others write that Shepherd’s pie is British, but when considering culinary origination fights over where a dish originated are never over and never settled. The phrase let’s agree to disagree come to mind when discussing where Shepherd’s pie came from originally.
At the Zia Diner Shepherd’s Pie is made with New Mexico grass fed beef and lamb with perhaps a salute to Shepherd’s Pie purists insisting it be made with lamb and a small salute to the more American version of Shepherd’s pie due to the beef ingredient.