Winter Warmer Recipe: Cottage Pie

February 5, 2014

Winter is a time for cold biting winds and wet miserable weather. It is a time for comfort food, hot warming meals that make you feel warmed inside. A time for filling meals that sit steaming on the table, tantalising you to eat them. A time when meals your mum used to make are perfect, bringing memories with every bite. Cottage Pie is one of these meals, a simple meal made with minced beef and topped with mashed potatoes then baked in the oven. A perfect winter warmer, that for me brings back memories of eating it with my brothers as a child.

My mum always used to call it Shepherd’s Pie and as children we used to tease each other that it was made with minced shepherds. We used to speculate about where they found the shepherd’s to mince. It didn’t put us off eating it but it made for interesting dinner conversation. In later years I realised that Shepherd’s Pie actually uses minced lamb and cottage pie uses minced beef.  Cottage pie traditional British dish and everyone has their own particular way of making it. I like to add a bit of brown sauce to make it spicy and a tin of tomatoes to make it a little bit more moist. Traditionalists will skip the tomatoes altogether. However it is made it makes the perfect warming dinner.

ShepherdsPie copy

It is also a meal that everyone loves and perfect for a weekday meal. I make it at the weekend leave it in the dish and it is ready to go in the oven when I come home from work. It can be left in the dish ready to place in the oven when required. It is also perfect for freezing, to be taken out when you need a warming dinner.

Shepherd's Pie

The topping can be jazzed up with cheese or breadcrumbs if desired but I love plain mashed potato on top. I serve with peas but my husband insists that the dish has to be served with beetroot. This is a combination I would never have thought of but it works really well.

Cottage Pie

A traditional British winter dish, made with minced beef with a mashed potato topping
Servings 4
Author Alison


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 500 g minced beef
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sauce
  • 300 ml beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • 1 dessert spoon gravy granules


  • Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5
  • Chop the onions, garlic and carrot into small pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the onions, garlic and carrots until soft.
  • Add the mince and cook until brown.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, beef stock, mixed herbs and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 30 minutes until the mince is cooked. In the last five minutes add the brown sauce and gravy granules.
  • Whilst the meat mixture is cooking peel and chop the potatoes.
  • Boil the potatoes in water until they are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes, add a little butter and mash until soft.
  • Place the mince mixture into a casserole dish.
  • Top the mince with the mashed potatoes and place the casserole dish in the oven.
  • Cook for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Disclosure: This is my entry into the Tots 100 Co-operative Electrical competition.

3 responses to “Winter Warmer Recipe: Cottage Pie”

  1. Galina V says:

    I agree, this is a perfect comfort food for this weather. Looks scrummy!

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