There are few dishes as comforting as a good old-fashioned cottage pie. This easy peasy version is quick and simple to make, but packed full of flavour… and is like culinary equivalent of a great big hug!
A comfort food classic
It’s a comfort food classic for good reason, thanks to its wodges of buttery mashed potato, simple mince base and lashings of beef gravy!
An easy peasy cottage pie recipe
There are many ways you can dress up a cottage pie and make it ‘fancy’, but I like to keep things simple and old-fashioned in my easy peasy classic version.
All you need to do is fry up some onions, carrots and beef mince. Then, make a simple gravy out of beef stock cube, flour and water. Tip the gravy into the beef mix, then transfer into an oven dish, top with buttery mashed potatoes and bake!
Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie?
Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie are often used interchangeably in the UK, but technically there is a difference! Shepherd’s pie (as the name suggests) contains lamb – either mince or roast lamb leftovers. Cottage Pie, on the other hand, is made with beef (usually mince).
If you prefer, you can absolutely turn this Easy Peasy Cottage Pie into an Easy Peasy Shepherd’s Pie – simply by using lamb mince instead of beef mince.
Alternatively, you might like to try these variations:
Make it your own!
I’ve kept this Easy Peasy Cottage Pie super simple – just beef mince, onions, carrots and gravy. But there are many things you can add to adapt this classic dish and make it your own. You could try:
- Adding tomato puree to the beef gravy
- Adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce to the beef gravy
- Adding peas and/or sweetcorn to the beef mince
- Adding a teaspoon of curry powder to the beef mince
- Swapping some of the potatoes for cauliflower to ‘lighten’ the mash
- Using sweet potato instead of regular potatoes for the mash
I’d love to hear about any adaptations you make to this recipe… Let me know in the comments below!
What to serve with Cottage Pie?
Personally, I love to serve this cottage pie with a combination of peas and sweetcorn. (You can put the peas and sweetcorn actually IN the pie, but I find they tend to get a bit overcooked that way.)
But you could serve this with any vegetable side dish you like! Cabbage, greens, broccoli and green beans all work well.
What to drink with Cottage Pie?
Cottage pie is a very wine-friendly dish and works well with a variety of red wines, such as Chilean Merlot, Côtes du Rhône or red Bordeaux.
What to do with leftover Cottage Pie?
Cottage Pie makes great leftovers. Simply place any leftovers in a lidded container and pop into the fridge, where they will keep for up to 3 days.
Reheat in an oven set to 180C (160C fan / gas mark 4 / 350F) for 10-15 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave until piping hot all the way through.
Can you freeze Cottage Pie?
Yes, you can. I have to confess, I’m not mad keen on freezing potatoes – to me it affects the flavour of the potatoes adversely (though I seem to be in a small minority of people who can taste this… I blame all those years I spent tasting wine professionally!) But if that doesn’t bother you, then cottage pie freezes very well.
Simply place the cottage pie in a lidded container and pop it into the freezer, where it will keep for up to 1 month.
Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Easy Peasy Cottage Pie
- 1 kg potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled, halved lengthways and chopped into 1cm / ½ inch chunks
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 beef stock cube (I use Kallo organic beef stock cubes, but Oxo beef stock cubes also work well!)
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 500 ml boiling water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A small knob of butter
- A splash of milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Put the chopped potatoes into a saucepan. Pour over enough boiling water to cover well and bring back to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.
- Meanwhile, put the olive oil, diced onion and chopped carrots into a large frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened but not brown.
- Turn up the heat and add the beef mince. Break the mince up with a spatula and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes, or until the beef mince is nicely browned all over.
- Meanwhile, make a simple beef gravy by crumbling the stock cube into a jug and adding the plain flour. Mix to a smooth paste using a small amount of cold water and then add 500ml boiling water to the jug, stirring constantly.
- Pour the gravy into the pan and stir. Add a few twists of black pepper and simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain and mash them with the butter and milk, plus a few twists of salt and pepper.
- Pour the beef mixture into the bottom of an oven dish and top with the buttery mash. Use a fork to spread the mash evenly over the beef mixture.
- Cook for 20 minutes in your preheated oven until nicely browned on top. Serve with peas and sweetcorn… or whatever veg you like!
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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