I adore cottage pie. I ate my first authentic dish of it in 2013 just a half-mile from Windsor Castle across the pond.
We learned the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie that day. Cottage pie was named for the poor people who lived in cottages and ate potatoes and thus mashed potatoes were on top. Shepherd’s pie was named for the shepherds who herded their sheep and is made with lamb. It also has mashed potatoes.
Either way, it is a delicious and savory pie.
Proper Cottage Pie
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- To make meat filling: Place a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in ground beef and sauté 1 minute. Add onion and carrots, then continue to sauté until meat is no longer pink and onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour, mixed herbs and parsley.
- In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste. Mix together, then add to beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of liquid has been absorbed. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
- To make potato topping: Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Allow to come to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
- Mash potatoes until smooth, then add butter followed by milk. Whip until fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread potatoes over beef filling. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.