Cottage pie is a savory masterpiece. Did you know Cottage Pie is the cousin of the Irish delicacy Shepard’s Pie? I think most of us growing up in the states called it Shepard’s Pie when in reality it was actually Cottage Pie. Cottage Pie uses minced lean ground beef as its base with beef broth to create gravy, while Shepard’s Pie uses ground lamb and the natural lamb juices to create its sauce. I know in my home we used ground beef, but growing up in a heavily Irish American community, I have had traditional Shepard’s Pie as well. When I went to Ireland in 2017, it was the first thing I ate when I got there.
I hadn’t made Cottage Pie in FOREVER. Then, on the first chilly night this fall, I got a real craving for it. So naturally, I made 5 pounds of it and ate it all week. It is a pretty easy recipe to master and freezes really well, so you can make a few and freeze them for future use. I like to make my own mashed potatoes to go on top, but if you are in a pinch, you can use some instant mashed potatoes.
When something is as tasty as this cottage pie, I am completely fine eating the same thing over multiple days. It actually tasted better each day as the flavors of the Cottage Pie sit together. Making large batches saves me so much time and money. Just buy up all the ingredients when you see a good sale, assemble it, freeze it and pop it out when you are in the mood for it. I’ll freeze small containers of it for my husband and I and then larger ones for when I have company. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and take it out for 20-30 minutes before you put it in the oven so your glass container or casserole dish doesn’t break.
So while the cold months continue to roll through, bundle yourself up and make this hearty Cottage Pie.
Cottage Pie Filling Ingredients
• 2 lbs. ground beef 90% lean
• 1.5 cup beef stock/broth
• 12oz bag of frozen corn, peas and carrots
• 1.5 tsp. each dried thyme, rosemary, parsley
• 1 large onion diced
• 4 cloves garlic minced
• 2 Tbsp. flour
• 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
• 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Cheesy Potato Ingredients
• 3-4 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes
• 1 stick of unsalted butter gently melted
• 1/2- 1 cup of sour cream
• 1/2 cup of Tillamook Mexican blend cheese
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. onion powder
• 1 tsp. dried parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste
I like to start by making the mashed potatoes first. Rinse and clean the potatoes. Cube them into same size pieces and add them to a pot of cold water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain potatoes and add them back to the pot with the heat off. Now add in all the ingredients except for the cheese and mash it all together. Once it is a nice smooth consistency, go ahead and fold in the cheese. Taste, adjust for seasoning and set aside. Now, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large skillet add 1.5 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat and add in diced onions. Once the onions are softened, add in the ground beef and break it up.
When the ground beef is halfway cooked, blot out any excess water or grease from the pan with a paper towel and throw it away. Mix in the dried seasonings, salt, pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and fresh garlic and continue cooking.
Once the meat is fully cooked, sprinkle in flour and mix. Allow this to cook for 3-5 minutes, then add in beef broth and scrape the pan with a spatula to get up all the tasty bits. Cook for another 3-5 minutes to thicken. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Finally, mix in your frozen veggies and transfer it to your 7 x 11 baking dish.
Place your beef mixture into your baking dish and cover with a nice layer of mashed potatoes. Bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered and allow 15 minutes for it to cool before serving. Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley for garnish.