Cottage Pie

 A while back I made a recipe for what I called Shepherd’s Pie.  It is a scrumptious mixture of ground beef and vegetables in a light tomato-ish sauce, topped with mashed potatoes and baked.  Perfect, easy comfort food.  I wrote a little story about how I fell in love with shepherd’s pie.  I even included a picture of a sheep, because I had one hanging around and it seemed like the perfect time to use it.  I posted it up on the blog, and started reading the comments.  (I love comments, by the way.  Leave me comments!)  Anyway, in addition to all the sweet things everyone said to me about the pictures and the recipe and the story, more than one person gently told me that I had not in fact made Shepherd’s Pie.  I had made Cottage Pie.


Well, as it turns out, that’s exactly what I did.  Apparently Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, and Cottage Pie is made with beef.  Which now made me feel bad about the whole sheep picture thing, because I was unwittingly including a really cute picture of the, um, ingredients.  Oh dear.

So long story short, here is a recipe for Cottage Pie, which uses a topping of very thin-sliced potatoes instead of the mashed version…and while I am probably the world’s biggest fan of mashed potatoes, I actually LOVE this version.  The filling is the usual mixture of ground beef, carrots and peas, and the whole thing is just as delectable as its incorrectly named predecessor.

So at the end of the day, no matter what you call it, MAKE it.  Delicious, delicious, delicous.


Cottage Pie
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large russet potato, sliced very thin
  1. Preheat oven to 400. In large skillet, heat one tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato paste.
  2. Add meat and cook for 3 minutes, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add thyme and beer and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top and stir. Add 1 cup of water and cook until slightly thickened, another two minutes. Stir in peas and then season to taste.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and top with overlapping potato slices. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until potatoes are browned at the edges, about 40-45 minutes. Cool ten minutes before serving.


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  1. PoetessWug says

    WOW! You learn something new every day!! And I have a special shepherd's….Ummmm….I don't know what to call it now….recipe that I've been doing for years!! Eh! A rose by any other name….. ^_^ I'm going to try your COTTAGE pie though! That looks delicious with the thin chips on top!

  2. Joanne says

    Haha people can be so picky sometimes! I can never keep the two of them straight myself. My mom definitely always called it shepherd's pie but possibly that's because we never ate lamb. Ever. Since my dad hates it. Love the thinly sliced potatoes! what a nice twist.

  3. Fun and Fearless in Beantown says

    I totally didn't know the difference between shepard's pie and cottage pie. I guess you learn something new every day!

  4. sippy says

    I'm so making this. My house full of males dig simple meat and potato dishes. Those potato chips on tops sealed the deal. :)

  5. Vicki says

    I love the name "Cottage Pie" and the picture of the sliced potatoes on top had me once again, mumbling about being a vegetarian! I'm making this a veggie version one way or another because I want to be able to say "We're having Cottage Pie for dinner"!

  6. LynnieBNC says

    I see no reason why we shouldn't make this with..ahem….TURKEY. Methinks SOME of us might have a boatload of…turkey on Friday??

  7. Brittney says

    Can I just say, YUM? This recipe is our family's new favorite! Thanks! The only change I made was because I don't like to cook with alcohol so I subbed in beef broth, applesauce and a splash of balsamic for the dark beer. It was amazing!

  8. PoetessWug says

    Just wanted to let you know that I told my girlfriend how badly I wanted to try this recipe, and she made it for me last night!! It was DELICIOUS!!! :-)

  9. Richie says

    I always use beef for cottage pie and make the roof with overlaping slices of potatoes, but for shephard’s pie I always used mutton (i.e. mature sheep not young lambs) as that had more flavour. But these days mutton and hoggett (hoggett being betwee lamb and mutton in age) are hard to find in supermarkets, which have killed off many a local butcher. For the shepard’s pie I make swirls in the mashed potatoes to give a stylized representation of fleece.

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