This easy Cottage Pie just screams comfort food. Ground beef, and a variety of aromatic veggies cook in a savory gravy, then get topped with cozy mashed potatoes.
Stick everything in the oven, then wait for your new favorite wintertime meal…
Today we bring you another one of their famous dishes. And the timing couldn’t be better, because you probably have some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge!
Why You’ll Love It
- Comfort Food at Its Best: There’s nothing quite like a homemade Cottage Pie to bring warmth to your dining table. It’s the kind of dish that makes you feel cozy and satisfied, perfect for chilly evenings or when you’re in need of some culinary comfort.
- A Complete Meal: With protein, vegetables, and starch all included, this Cottage Pie is a well-rounded meal on its own.
- Versatile and Customizable: Feel free to tweak the recipe to suit your taste or to accommodate what you have on hand. We’ll give you some variations later in the post.
What’s the Difference Between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s pie has ground lamb. Cottage pie has ground beef. That’s about it!
- Onion, Carrots, Celery, Mushrooms, Garlic: These vegetables form the aromatic base of the dish.
- Ground Beef: The star of Cottage Pie. Or you can use ground lamb and make Shepherd’s pie!
- All-Purpose Flour: Used to thicken the beef filling. If you need a gluten-free option, cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend can be used instead.
- Beef Broth: Adds moisture and depth to the beef filling. A low-sodium version can be used to control salt content.
- Tomato Paste and Worcestershire Sauce: These add umami and a slight tanginess to the dish.
- Fresh Thyme and Rosemary, Bay Leaf: If fresh herbs aren’t available, use dried herbs but only use 1 teaspoon in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh, as they’re more potent.
- Frozen Peas: Can be substituted with other vegetables like corn or green beans.
- Russet Potatoes: Ideal for mashing due to their starchy nature, resulting in fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes. Other varieties like Yukon gold can also be used.
- Milk and Butter: These enrich the mashed potatoes, making them creamy and flavorful. For a richer taste, cream can be used in place of milk.
- Cheddar Cheese: Adds a cheesy, tangy layer to the mashed potatoes. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses like Gruyere or Parmesan for varied flavors.
How to Make Cottage Pie
1. Make the Ground Beef Filling: Sauté onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms until soft. Add the beef and garlic, and cook until the beef browns up.
Stir in the flour, then add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes, taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
2. Make the Mashed Potato Topping: Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash them with the butter and milk. Stir in the cheese.
3. Assemble and Bake: Evenly spread the mashed potatoes atop the ground beef mixture.
If desired, broil for a few minutes to brown up the topping. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Try Different Proteins: Instead of ground beef, use lamb to make Shepherd’s pie. Or use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter dish. You can make a vegetarian cottage pie by substituting the beef for more mushrooms.
- Add More Veggies: Other vegetables that can go in cottage pie are corn, bell peppers, green beans, or lima beans.
- Low-Carb Option: For a lower-carb version, use mashed cauliflower or a mix of cauliflower and potato for the topping. It’s a great way to lighten the dish while still enjoying the comfort-food feel.
- Sweet Potato Topping: Substitute the russet potatoes with sweet potatoes for a different flavor profile and extra nutrients.
Leftovers and Storage
Cottage pie is great as leftovers, so go ahead and make a big batch. Allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, simply stick it in the oven preheated to 350 degrees, or microwave until warmed.
- Ensure Even Cooking: Cut the carrots, celery, and onions into uniform pieces. This ensures they cook evenly and integrate well into the meat mixture.
- Thicken the Filling: Ensure the flour is well-incorporated into the meat and cooked for a minute or two before adding liquid. This helps to remove the raw flour taste and thicken the filling effectively.
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes: For fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes, make sure the potatoes are well-drained and mash them while they’re hot. Adding warm milk and melted butter helps to maintain a smooth texture.
- Cheese Matters: If you’re adding cheese to the mashed potatoes, choose a good melting cheese for the best texture. Cheddar is great, but you can also experiment with other varieties.
- Watch the Oven: Keep an eye on the pie during the final minutes of baking, especially if you’re broiling for a crispy top. It can go from perfectly golden to burnt pretty quick.
- Rest Before Serving: Let the pie rest for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven. This helps the filling to set, making it easier to serve.
When you crave something warm and cozy on a cold winter night, it’s hard to beat this cottage pie. And once you try this recipe, we bet you’ll agree that it’s the best!
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For more delicious meals, check out our hand-picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time, happy cooking!
Cottage Pie, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Ground Beef Filling
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 6oz mushrooms, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup frozen peas
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
Mashed Potato Topping
- 2.5 pounds russett potatoes, peeled and cut into same sized pieces
- ¾ cup milk
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat olive oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat (see note 1). Add diced onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until soft.
- Add ground beef and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently an breaking up the beef, until no pink remains.
- Stir in flour. Gradually add the beef broth. Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. After simmering, taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain, then add milk and butter, and mash until smooth with a potato masher. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese.
- Evenly spread the mashed potatoes atop the ground beef mixture. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. If desired, broil for a few minutes to brown up the topping.
- Remove from oven and allow dish to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- If you do not have a large enough (about 12 inch) oven safe skillet, you can transfer the mixture to a casserole dish for baking.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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