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British Recipes: Cottage pie

Large slice of cottage pie on a white plateMy mother used to make shepherd’s pie for us quite regularly during my childhood. However, since moving to the UK, I have come to realise that she didn’t make shepherd’s pie, as we called it, but cottage pie. What is the difference you may ask? Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb whereas cottage pie is made with beef.
Traditionally made with the left over roast meat, today it is generally made using fresh minced meat. Always very comforting, especially on a cold winter’s day.

Serves: 4


  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 brown onions, cut finely
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut finely
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (check labels if you want gluten-free)
  • 350 ml beef stock
  • milk
  • butter and sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper


Turn the oven to 200 C / 390 F.
In a large saucepan, add the cubed potatoes and cover with plenty of water. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Allow the potatoes to simmer until soft (approx 30 minutes).
In a large frypan, heat up a good amount of oil and then add the onions. Fry for a few minutes until soft and then add the beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Once browned, add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes.
Then add the parsley, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, beef stock, salt and pepper and bring to the simmer.
When the potatoes are cooked, pour out all the water. Add a good splash of milk, a big knob of butter and salt and pepper. Mash the potato to a smooth consistency.
In a large oven proof dish, pour in the beef mix. Smooth to the bottom of the entire dish. Spread on the potato mash. Cook in the cottage pie in a pre-heated oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Enjoy!

[box title=”Variation” style=”soft” box_color=”#6D6E72″]Shepherd’s Pie: just use lamb mince instead of beef mince, as above[/box]

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