A Cottage Pie prepared with ground mince and baked in a casserole pan.
This recipe is the easiest from-scratch version you can make at home.
I called it originally a shepherd's pie with ground beef because that's what it is known as outside Ireland and Britain.
What is cottage pie and a shepherd's pie?
Shepherd's pie is a layered crustless pie, consisting of a gravy-like ground meat layer and a mashed potato layer.
A traditional British or Irish shepherd's pie is made with lamb meat and the one with beef is better known as a cottage pie.
The rest of the world just calls them all shepherd's pie, even the ones prepared with ground turkey or chicken meat.
I make mine with ground beef as you can see in the recipe. It just tastes better in my opinion!
How to make it?
Making a meat pie can be a bit tedious, I'm not going to lie. BUT the reward is just huge!
I make a cottage or shepherd's pie at least once a month for our family and we love it!
I break down the process in easy steps, the full recipe card with ingredients and detailed instructions is located at the bottom of this post.
The steps will help you to get a basic overview!
Cook your potatoes through and prepare a mash.
Prepare the ground meat gravy in a skillet.
Assemble. Pour meat layer into your casserole pan and top with the mash potatoes.
Bake uncovered until the top layer turns golden brown.
My "shepherd's" pie is made with ground beef but you are free to use ground lamb, pork, turkey or even chicken meat.
Here are some more ingredients that you can add while you are cooking your beef gravy.
- green peas - Those are a standard in most cottage pies, I skip them because I like it better without peas but you are free to do what you like.
- beans - kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans,...
- lentils - brown lentils, green lentils, mung,...
- chili pepper or cayenne pepper powder - to make it spicy
- Herb de Provence seasoning - it will taste like a souther french themed Hachis Parmentier (French version of this dish)
The vinaigrette dressing is really amazing with a ground meat pie and the only way that you should have it for dinner.
That's the only serving suggestion you'll ever need!
Use a regular-sized 9 x 13-inch rectangular casserole pan for the best result.
The saucy meat filling is at the bottom of the pan. The mash potato tops the meat filling.
Keep in the fridge in the same oven friendly dish and covered. I just place an aluminum foil over the whole casserole dish. If there is only a little left, I transfer it to a smaller casserole dish into the fridge.
Yes, you can! Assemble the pie layers in your casserole dish and place it into your freezer to freeze hard. Take out whenever you need it and place it directly into the oven without preheating first. Add another 10-15 mins to the baking time to thaw and bake it through.
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Cottage pie with Ground Beef Recipe
For the mash potato layer
- 4-5 medium Potato uncooked peeled
- Salt to boil potato
- Water to boil potato
- 2 Tablespoon Butter
- 1½ cup Milk
- ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg ground
For the mash potato layer
- Cook peeled potatoes in saltwater through.
- Strain potatoes when cooked, bring back to the pot and add butter, milk and nutmeg to the potatoes.
- Mash your potatoes over low heat until completely mashed. It will thicken over the heat.
- Keep mash potato layer aside.
For the ground meat gravy layer
- Heat up a skillet with the oil and sautee onion until soft.
- Add garlic and mix in, sautee for another minute.
- Add carrots and mix them in. Pour tomato sauce and broth over the mixture in the pan.
- Season with rosemary, thyme, ground black pepper, and a bay leaf.
- Combine everything and leave to cook for 5 minutes over a medium to slow heat. The sauce should thicken a bit and reduce in the pan.
- Pour Worcestershire sauce over the sauce and season with salt to taste. Combine sauce and take out the bay leaf and discard.
- Add ground beef to the skillet and mix into the sauce over medium heat. Cook it for about 2-3 minutes and take from heat.
To assemble Shepherd's Pie
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celsius
- Pour all the ground meat sauce into a casserole dish and spread it out so that's even.
- Place the potato mash over the meat sauce and spread it out as well. Make sure the top is one level.
- Bake at 350° Fahrenheit/ 180° Celsius for about 20 minutes or broil for 5-10 minutes or until it looks golden done on top.
- Use ground lamb to make a classic British or Irish Shepherd's pie.
- Use a 13x9 inch Casserole pan
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