Cottage Pie

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I recently had a request on my Youtube channel to make Shepherd’s Pie. Often these days, if you check recipes for this ,you will find minced beef used instead of the more traditional minced lamb.  But minced beef in those circumstances is actually Cottage Pie.  So, although it is not really baking in the true sense, what I decided to do was to make two versions.  One is Cottage Pie with minced beef and the other will be Shepherd’s Pie with minced lamb.

The recipe, apart from the meat, is basically very similar for both.  So I decided to make them both on the same day, but post the videos  and blog entries separately. I also decided that for one, this Cottage Pie, I would make a large single pie. For the other, the Shepherd’s Pie I will make small individual ones that can be frozen and eaten later.

This recipe is quite straightforward, even though it has many steps, and results in a very tasty meat base topped with mashed potato.  Ideal to serve as dinner with more vegetables.

Mine was well received and was devoured in quick time, with leeks, broccoli and runner beans as the additional vegetables.

Cottage Pie

                                        Cottage Pie – Video

  • 750g/ 1lb 10oz minced beef
  • 2 onions(about 350g) finely chopped
  • 2 carrots(about 200g) finely diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 350ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce(to taste you may not want to use it all)
  • 900g/2lb potatoes(I used Maris Piper), peeled and chopped into equal sized pieces.
  • 75g butter
  • 150g/1 cup frozen peas, thawed.
  • 1 tbsp milk, if needed.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Knob of butter for sauteing.


  1. In a  frying pan or casserole dish heat the knob of butter and place the onions and carrots to gently saute until they soften a litte.  Don’t allow the onions to brown.
  2. When the onions and carrots have softened a little add the minced beef and brown it.
  3. Start to cook the potatoes, adding salt if desired.
  4. Sprinkle the thyme into the meat and mix to combine.
  5. Add the tomato paste and 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce(you can add more later if you wish, after tasting(
  6. Mix everything to combine.
  7. Add half the stock, and mix in, turning the heat up to get it simmering.
  8. Add the flour into the remaining stock and stir to dissolve.
  9. Add that remaining half of stock into the meat and stir to mix in.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  11. Taste the sauce to see if it is seasoned ok, and add more worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper if required.
  12. Simmer the meat for 15 minutes to cook it and for the liquid to thicken and reduce. Add more water if you think it is reducing too quickly.
  13. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  14. When the meat is cooked mix in the peas and  tip it all into a large roasting dish, about 8×12 inches(20x30cm) and level all over.  Then set aside.
  15. When the potatoes are cooked drain the water from them and leave them uncovered in the pan for the steam to release.
  16. Mash the potatoes with the butter until nice and smooth.
  17. Spoon the potatoes onto the meat and spread all over, smoothing on the top.
  18. Use the tines of a fork to draw a series of long lines all over the top of the potatoes.
  19. Place a baking tray on the bottom shelf of the oven to catch any drips.
  20. Place the Cottage Pie into the oven and cook for 40 minutes, until the potatoes starts to brown all over.
  21. Remove from the oven and it is ready to serve.

Note:  Once the Cottage Pie is assembled it can be refrigerated, or even frozen and cooked later.

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