5 from 1 votes

Cottage Pie

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Cottage pie, an old-fashioned filling comfort food recipe, is a great way to use leftover vegetables in a delicious classic meal.

A savory, homemade, from-scratch dish, this comforting casserole recipe might be simple but is incredibly flavorful.  

dinner on a plate.

Why Cottage Pie is the Ultimate Comfort Food.

Looking for a meal that will warm your heart and soul? Cottage Pie is the ultimate in a filling and heartwarming bite.

A rich and warming dish ideal for winter evenings, the savory meat and vegetable mixture and a creamy mashed potato crust, make it the ideal dish. 

An incredibly adaptable recipe, cottage pie can be altered fairly easily to please even the pickiest of kids.

Customize the filling using your favorite vegetables, spices, and herbs, and you can experiment with different types of meats, such as beef, lamb (also known as Shepard’s pie), or turkey, to create a dish that is entirely your own.

easy dinner recipe.

Essential Ingredients for the Perfect Cottage Pie

  • ground beef
  • olive oil
  • veggies – white or yellow onion, carrots, celery stalks
  • flavor – minced garlic, dry thyme, fresh parsley
  • tomato paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • beef broth or beef stock
  • instant russet potatoes and ingredients to make them (usually water, milk, and unsalted butter)
  • shredded cheddar cheese

How to Prepare a Traditional Cottage Pie from Scratch

  1. Brown beef in a 10″ oven-proof skillet. If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, I’d use a large, 10×10 square baking dish or a casserole dish. Drain ground meat grease and remove from pan. 
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and tomato paste in the same pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  3. Return beef to the pan and add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and broth. Heat over medium-high heat until bubbly and boiling.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil until carrots are no longer crunchy and the liquid is slightly reduced. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 and prepare potatoes. Using the directions on the box, prepare six servings of potatoes. Mix 1 cup of cheese into the prepared potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
homemade cottage pie recipe
  1. Working in small dollops, spoon potatoes onto the top of the beef mixture and gently spread potato topping flat on the beef layer and even. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes until the mixture is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted.
  3. Remove from oven and top with chopped fresh parsley before serving with salt and black pepper.
prepping top layer of cottage pie .

Delicious and Healthy Variations

Sweet potato crust: Instead of mashed potatoes, use mashed sweet potatoes as the top crust layer.

Vegetarian cottage pie: Instead of meat, use legumes such as lentil mushrooms or a combination of both to make a vegetarian cottage pie. I cannot say I would enjoy it as much, but it’s def an option.

Cauliflower mash: Another option for mashed potatoes is cauliflower mash.

Change up the meat filling or vegetables: Ground turkey instead of lean ground beef or ground lamb can be used to make a lighter version of cottage pie. To save time, using drained frozen vegetables (like a mixed vegetable medley) is fine.

chopped vegetables in a cast iron pan.

Serving Suggestions and Accompaniments

Cottage pie may be filling, so a side of steamed vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, carrots, or asparagus can add lightness and color to the dinner.

Roasted vegetables: Another excellent side dish choice is roasted vegetables. Try roasted parsnips and carrots, roasted mini peppers, or parmesan roasted acorn squash.

A fresh salad can help balance out the entire meal. Go simple, like a Caesar, or try something that makes great leftovers as well, like cobb salad, corn salad, or Panzanella salad.

A slice of warm, buttery garlic bread, breadsticks, or cornbread are all traditional side dish recipes that pair well with cottage pie.

side dish of cornbread.

The History and Origin of Cottage Pie

Cottage pie first appeared in the 18th century in the United Kingdom. Initially, it was made with leftover meat mixture, usually beef, minced and mixed vegetables, and flavorful gravy.

This hearty dish was cooked till golden brown and served with mashed potatoes.

Because of its simplicity and use of leftover ingredients, cottage pie was a favorite dish among peasants and farmers. The name “cottage” alludes to these people’s modest houses.

Later, the meal gained popularity in Ireland and other parts of the world. A comparable meal in the United States is known as “shepherd’s pie,” which is generally made with lamb or mutton.

scoop of shepards pie in a cast iron pan.

Difference between Cottage Pie vs. Shepard’s Pie

Cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are similar meals, with the main distinction being the meat used in the filling.

Cottage pie is typically cooked with beef, whereas shepherd’s pie is made with lamb or mutton. The name “shepherd’s pie” refers to the meal’s start as a dish consumed by shepherds in the countryside of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Because lamb is a readily available meat in these areas, it was used in the pie’s filling. The two recipes are relatively similar in terms of preparation and components.

Both start with a base of minced beef and vegetables in gravy, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked to a golden brown.

5 from 1 votes

Cottage Pie (Classic Beef Recipe)


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cottage pie is a classic British dish made with a deliciously seasoned beef and vegetable mixture and topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. This hearty and comforting meal is perfect for a cozy night in or as a crowd-pleasing dinner and needs no sides for a filling and satisfying weeknight menu.

Equipment

  • 10 inch Cast Iron Pan ovenproof skillet or 10×10 square baking dish

Ingredients
 

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion diced small, can be yellow or white
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 6 serving size mashed potatoes refer to back of box, additionally all ingredients to make them (usually water, milk and butter)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Brown beef in a 10" oven-proof skillet. Drain any grease and remove from pan.
  • In the same pan, add one tablespoon of olive oil, diced onion, carrots, celery, minced garlic, and tomato paste.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Return beef to the pan and add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and broth.
  • Heat over medium-high heat until bubbly and boiling.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil until carrots are no longer crunchy and liquid is slightly reduced. Remove from heat. 
  • Preheat oven to 425 and the prepared mashed potatoes.
  • Using the directions on the box, prepare six servings of potatoes. Mix 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the prepared potatoes.
  • Seasongenoursly with salt and black pepper.
  • Working in small dollops, spoon mashed potatoes onto top of the beef mixture and gently spread flat and even.
  • Sprinkle topping with the remaining shredded cheese. 
  • Bake cottage pie for 20 minutes until the mixture is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove dish from oven and top with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Notes

If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, I’d use a large, 10×10 square baking dish or a casserole dish. 
 
If your pan is full like mine after you add the potatoes, I suggest baking it on some foil to keep your oven clean. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 595kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 807mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4065IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 326mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 1 votes

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