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