Polly Clingerman’s Russian Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe Corner: Polly Clingerman’s Dinner Companion: Russian Shepherd’s Pie


Ruth M. “Polly” Clingerman is the author of 12 cookbooks, including Polly Clingerman’s Kitchen Companion and Polly Clingerman’s Dinner Companion: Glorious, Easy Meals in Less Than an Hour. Kitchen Companion, published by  the American Cooking Guild in Gaithersburg, was nominated best cookbook for the 1995 James Beard Awards. She began writing in the mid-1980s, including food articles for the Washington Post, and did consulting work for The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking, published in 1997. She was a native of Lansing, Mich., and a graduate of Michigan State University. She received a degree in African affairs from the Sorbonne in France. She also wrote Perfect pies: From dinner to dessert (The collector’s series) in 1998. She passed away in 2000. Her husband was John R. Clingerman, a retired Foreign Service Officer and former U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho from 1979 to 1981, who passed away in 2004.

These two recipes are from Polly Clingerman’s Dinner Companion. It was said that as an ambassador’s wife, she entertained elegantly but always displayed a sense of fun and enthusiasm. There is a difference between “cottage pie” and “shepherd’s pie,” and it’s in the meat. Traditional shepherd’s pie should only be named as such if it contains lamb, and “cottage” usually applies to one made with beef. This dish (with no vegetables except the onion) is a twist on a traditional shepherd’s pie since the crust is on the bottom and the cottage cheese and Swiss cheese make a silky custardy top.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes


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2 cups biscuit mix regular or gluten-free biscuit mix

1 egg slightly beaten

1/4 cup milk



1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry Italian herb mix (check for gluten if you need gluten-free)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 large clove garlic minced (to taste)


1 large egg, slightly beaten

2 cups creamy cottage cheese (not low fat)

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (to taste)


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, salt, Italian herbs, pepper and garlic. Drain off any excess fat when the ground beef is brown.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine biscuit mix, egg and milk. Pat it out to 1/2” thick and spread it into a lightly greased 9 or 10-inch pie plate. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the 1 beaten egg and cottage cheese.

To assemble, spoon meat mixture into the dough lined pie plate, Spoon the cottage cheese mixed with the egg on top and lightly spread over meat mixture. Bake at 375ºF for 15 minutes. Top with the shredded Swiss cheese and return to oven, bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and the topping is set. Cool slightly and cut into pie wedges and serve.

For this recipe, go to: https://iowasue.blogspot.com/2018/12/russian-sheperds-pie.html


Polly’s Apple Snickers Delight

Polly thought this recipe was just the thing when “your soul feels a little dented — velvety cream laced with Snickers bars and crispy apple.” Serve in stemmed glasses and decorate with a bit of chopped candy bar or sprigs of fresh mint.


3 tart apples (such as Granny Smith)

3 Snickers candy bars (2.07 ounces) or Heath Bars

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1 cup milk

1 container (8 ounces) prepared whipped topping

1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, dark rum or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Peel, core and coarsely chop the apples. Coarsely chop the Snickers bars. Place pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl and beat with a rotary beater. Fold in the whipped topping, the liqueur, the chopped apples and Snickers bars. Chill in the refrigerator until serving time. Serves 6.


For this recipe, go to: https://susanslacktasteofcarolina.wordpress.com/2005/09/08/a-peck-of-apple-r

Polly Clingerman’s Dinner Companion, a book with recipes and flavor from all over the world, reflects Polly Clingerman, her life abroad as the wife of a foreign service officer, she spent thirty years traveling the world, living, cooking and entertaining in the Capitals of Nepal, Zaire, France, Benin, Belgium, Zambia and Lesotho, where her husband John, was the Ambassador. She lived for two years in Germany, England and Greece. All of these cultures dominate her Dishes, however, in a very light and simple way, the recipes in this lively book, smell and taste like you’ve lavished time and loving care because that’s Polly Clingerman’s Style.”

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