In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.
The term “shepherd’s pie” did not appear until 1877, and since then it has been used synonymously with “cottage pie”, regardless of whether the principal ingredient was beef or mutton. Folk etymology has led to the term “shepherd’s pie” being used when the meat is lamb, as shepherds are concerned with sheep and not cattle..
A recipe from “Lørdagskos” (Saturday Snacks) published by Dreyer in 1967
Originally this dish was made from left over meat and potatoes, but in my childhood home it was so popular that we didn’t always wait for any leftovers to be available. We often had this as a late Saturday lunch back in the sixties. I make it still from time to time, particularly at my week end cottage outside Oslo, it’s fast, easy to make and can be varied infinitely – Ted