Cottage pie is actually made from beef, Shepherds pie from lamb and a Meat pie has a crust and the meat is usually pork. As a Brit, my husband found this to be untraditional and didn't care for it. As much as I hate to say it, this pie shouldn't wow you with all kinds of flavor. The blandness is the appeal, really and why it is considered great comfort food. Generally, the only spices in it are parsley, thyme, S&P and that's about it. Adding worcestershire sauce is a must and that gives it some more flavor. I always caramelize my onions in my Cottage pie, so I did it here. Note, the carrots should be diced, not chopped and it helps to steam them for a few minutes in a saucepan of boiling water - otherwise they might not get cooked. I also add frozen peas, which is a must. Cheese is a nice addition, but whenever I use it, I grate mine and fold it into the potato, not layer it on the top in a greasy lake of baked cheese. My mother in law doesn't use the cheese at all, but instead pours melted butter over the top before baking, then adds a shake or two of paprika for color. I also use Bisto gravy for a more authentic flavor. Packaged American gravies just aren't the same.
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Cottage pie is actually made from beef, Shepherds pie from lamb and a Meat pie has a crust and...