Cottage pie – the heart of home cooking! This British classic features an extremely flavorful ground beef filling drenched in gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden brown. One of the best cozy dishes with ground beef!
Want to know the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie? The recipe is the same, but the cottage pie is made with beef and the shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. (Because the shepherd flocks the sheep….)
Cottage pie is a great British classic that we Australians have embraced as one of our favorite winter favorites. Or in my case, a year-round favorite.
Easy to prepare, economical, using everyday ingredients, and 100% freezer safe, this type of food has universal appeal (well, vegetarians aside).
Cottage pie has two components: beef filling and creamy mashed potatoes. The bean paste is thick and very flavorful, so you need to be careful not to put it in your mouth while cooking…..
….and continue with that creamy mashed potato filling. It takes a lot of willpower to keep it out of your mouth with a shovel…
But you persevere because you know it’s worth the patience.And no matter how rough the day was, it just got a whole lot better with your cottage pie.
What’s the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie. Both are made the same way – ground beef stuffed in baked gravy topped with mashed potatoes and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. is made with lamb instead of beef. If you prefer, just swap out beef for lamb in this recipe and you have a shepherd’s pie!
What goes in Cottage Pie
Here’s what you need for cottage pie:
Any protein can be substituted for beef. It’s delicious with lamb (made into shepherd’s pie), chicken, turkey, or pork. Also, don’t worry if you’re missing carrots and celery. Skip it or add other diced vegetables like peas.
And that’s what you need for topping mashed potatoes.
I like parmesan cheese on my cottage pie. But any melty cheese will work.
Cottage Pie from scratch
This cottage pie is made from scratch and is very fuss-free. If you can make bolognese and mashed potatoes, you can make cottage pie because you basically follow the same steps.
Cottage Pie – 2 little tips
- To stop the potato from sinking into the filling, cool the filling first. But this isn’t a deal breaker, it’s just a visual thing ie if you don’t cool the filling, the potato “bleeds” into the beef mixture; and
- Ensure the filling reduces down enough (see video) to ensure you don’t end up with a watery filling after baking. It’s so disappointing when you break through the potato to be greeted with a beef sitting in a watery sauce!
How to freeze Cottage Pie
Cottage pie is one of the best unusual foods to make ahead of time. Stores in the refrigerator for 4 days – assembled and ready to reheat or cook once.
You can also freeze cottage pies to 100% perfection. You can bake frozen – which takes about an hour (that’s an impressive block of ice!!), or thaw and then bake.Cooked leftovers freeze well too.
What goes with Cottage Pie
Since this is a high-meat, high-carb dish, it pairs very well with a fresh side salad such as a rocket salad with balsamic dressing or a garden salad with French or Italian dressing. Served with carrot salad!