Easy Cottage Pie (with a twist) Recipe

The Mum Reviews says:

It looks like a lot of ingredients but many are optional and you can just throw everything in! You don’t even need to put it in the oven if you’re short on time. I love the funky mash with added sour cream and cheese.

What you need

  • 6 white potatoes (Maris Piper is good if you’re in the UK)
  • 1 sweet potato (optional)
  • Approx 500g / 1-1.5lb mince (that’s ground beef in the USA)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (or 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (about 1 medium carrot)
  • Oregano & Thyme (or mixed Italian Seasoning)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Beef stock
  • Garlic, fresh, dried or minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (85g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk or cream (half & half is also an option in the USA)
  • Corn starch
  • Salt & pepper

Method

SpicesPreheat the oven to 375F/180C (however as you’ll see later, using the oven is optional! You could also just use the grill to crisp up the top).

Bring a big pot of water to boil and peel and cube 6 white potatoes for mash. I sometimes add one sweet potato to the mash, but cook it whole in the
microwave for 4 minutes or so rather than boil.

You can save time and peel only spotty bits of skin for a rustic mash too. Or, for a real shortcut, you can use ready mash; some chiller section mash only has milk, butter, cream and potatoes, so isn’t too guilt ridden.

While the potatoes boil, start browning the ground/minced beef. I use higher fat beef to avoid the need to add extra Cottage Pie filling on the hoboil.

Add the chopped onion (you can buy frozen pre-chopped onion for convenience). You can also replace some of the chopped onions with a handful of pearl onions, which sweeten up nicely.

Add healthy dashes of pepper, salt, oregano and thyme (or Italian seasoning), Worcestershire sauce and beef stock (I use 1 cube or 1 tsp of the jar of concentrated stock). You should add as much or as little as you like to taste, but I do use a lot of dry spice to flavour the meat while frying it off. You can also add about 1 clove of garlic or 1 tsp of dried/ready minced garlic (to taste) at this point too.

I try not to stir too much so the meat browns nicely, but if the dry spice starts to burn, add a touch more Worcestershire or water.

When the meat is brown and the onions are soft, add about ½ cup water and about 1 cup chopped carrots (I get the julienned carrots Shredded carrotsand chop them a little smaller, but you could leave them big if you prefer).

Add the frozen peas (you can add extra if they like peas – go for it!) and tomato paste (optional). Stir well and allow peas to thaw completely. Add a bit more water if the mixture is dry, but no more than ¼ cup.

Adding frozen peas to cottage pieAdd 1 or 2 tsp corn starch a little at a time, using a fork to mix it in; try shaking it in off the fork to avoid too much clumping.

Cover and reduce heat to simmer until the gravy thickens a bit. Add a dash of salt or more Worcestershire sauce to taste.

Your potatoes should be done by now (cubed ones take about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes and add ¼ cup butter (or olive oil if you prefer) to the pot and dump the potatoes back in. Add ¼ cup (or more) sour cream and smash it all together. Add milk (or cream/half  & half if you’re feeling indulgent) as you mix (up to 1/2 cup), until you’ve reached your desired thickness. Salt and pepper to taste.

For extra flavour, add a bit of shredded cheese to the mash.

Pour the meat mixture into a baking pan. Cover with mash, sprinkle with more shredded cheese for extra texture, and bake for 15-20 minutes to crisp up the top.

It’s advisable to put the pie onto another baking tray to catch any bubbly juices. Yum!

A few other tips…

In the pictures, I’ve made a two “grown up” or four toddler portion pie. I save the meat mixture to have over jacket/baked potatoes with salad in the summer if I don’t want to have the oven on too long. You can also avoid using the oven altogether if you want to simply layer the mash onto the meat in the pan and allow the sauce to simmer beneath it for a few minutes. Fast family favourites aren’t always about presentation! When my kids were younger, I made sure to make the carrots nice and small, and usually skinned the potatoes properly, but now that they’re older, it’s not necessary. There are a lot of ‘to taste’ measures here, so don’t be afraid to just toss a dash of this and that in – it’ll be a dish you make your own in no time.

Petite Pudding
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8 thoughts on “Easy Cottage Pie (with a twist) Recipe

  1. I would write an article on the difference between Cottage pie and Shepards pie. I see more and more miss labeling and advertising that it’s starting to piss me off.
    I had to educated a baker on where the term and baking of a bakers dozen originated from.

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  2. […] I’m not the best cook, and when I do make an effort, my kids are usually not impressed. So when my best friend suggested she might join me in the blogosphere, I bit her hand off. Because she CAN cook. Her kids even eat it. And it’s got vegetables! So she needs to share her secrets with the rest of us. In this post she introduces herself. Head on over to our About page for more about us, and watch this space for The Mum Recipes first recipe, Easy Cottage Pie. […]

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  3. Oh that’s an interesting twist! I do like cottage pie, not sure about sour cream though although the worchestershire sauce sounds nice 🙂 #EatSleepBlogRt

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