I tend to use little or no meat when cooking, but when the temperature turns arctic, nothing beats an old-school classic like Cottage Shepherd’s Pie. From generation to generation this is always a family favorite. Growing up in a big family, it was a top birthday dinner request and it’s now invariably a dish my daughter asks me to make when she’s home from college.
I call this both cottage and shepherd’s pie because I’ve always known this as shepherd’s pie, yet it’s called cottage pie when made with ground beef. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with ground lamb.
Corn is rarely added to either shepherd or cottage pie, so it’s optional. My mom added a layer of creamed corn so I can’t imagine making it without two kinds of starch! Peas can be added to for a more authentically English or Irish pie. My mom didn’t include peas so it’s not part of my comfort zone.
Made in a large casserole or pie pan, this is a cozy dish for a family dinner or potluck. To make a more special Cottage Shepherd’s Pie cook in individual serving size dishes.
Cottage Shepherd’s Pie
Mashed Potato Topping
2 lbs (about 4-5 average size) peeled baking potatoes, cut into quarters
½ tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup warm milk
¼ cup diced scallions, white part only
- In large pot, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until soft.
- Push potatoes through ricer or mash with potato masher.
- In medium bowl gently mix mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, warm milk and scallions until just combined, being careful not to overmix or potatoes will become gummy.
Cottage Pie Filling
1 ½ Tbs grapeseed or canola oil
1 ½ cup diced yellow onions
½ cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced carrot (2 carrots)
¼ cup diced celery (1 stalk)
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ¼ lb ground beef
¼ cup white wine
1 Tbs minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 Tbs chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 Tbs flour
1 ½ cup chicken broth
1 ½ cup corn kernels (optional)
1 ½ cup green peas (optional)
- In large pan heat grapeseed oil. Add onions, red pepper, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until softened but not brown; about 7 minutes.
- Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking beef into smaller pieces.
- Add white wine and cook until evaporated
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute
- Add parsley, rosemary and thyme (no sage!), tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and flour. Cook until flower a few minutes until flour is cooked and toasty.
- Add chicken stock and cook until liquid thickens a little. Remove from heat and cool completely to prevent potatoes from melting and separating into beef when cooked.
- Butter a 13 by 9-inch pan and pour cooled beef filling evenly over bottom. If adding, spread corn and/or peas evenly over beef.
- Carefully spread mashed potatoes evenly over top of beef/corn filling. Swirl slightly to give potatoes peaks and valleys.
- In preheated oven warm Cottage Shepherd’s Pie until hot throughout and potatoes are well browned.