Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie?

If you know anyone from the United Kingdom, you are destined to discover a savory pie made with minced meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes. This tasty meal is often accompanied by peas, a fresh green salad, and rolls. It is served for lunch or dinner.

At the end of the 18th century, a majority of the poor people living in country cottages started relying on potatoes for their daily meals. Today, this dish is called “shepherd’s pie” if it is made with lamb and “cottage pie” if it is made with beef. But I have found that the most commonly used name is “shepherd’s pie” and it is used for either meat or a combination of them.

My British friend's recipe includes English brands, but you can substitute any brand of bouillon cubes or measure from a package of powdered gravy mix.

Cottage Pie

Makes one 9”x9” pan, double this recipe to make 9”x13” pan

1 large onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 can (14 oz.) or 1 pkg. (1 lb.) peas & carrots (if use fresh, precook)
2 beef bouillon cubes (OXO brand)
2 tsp. Bisto gravy mix (powdered)
1 cup water
Mashed potatoes (potatoes, butter, milk, salt & pepper)

1.     Make the mashed potatoes and set aside.
2.     Together in a frying pan, brown the ground beef and saute the onion until tender.
3.     Add the peas and carrots, cooking until heated through.
4.     Add the beef bouillon and gravy mix with 1 cup of water.
5.     Heat and stir until thickened.
6.     Pour the meat mixture into the greased baking dish and add the mashed potatoes on top.
7.     Bake in a 350º F oven for 15 minutes. Or bake at 400º F for 25 minutes, if you make the dish ahead and take it from the refrigerator.

Optional: Beat an egg and use a fork to drizzle it in crisscross fashion across the mashed potatoes. Broil the casserole until the egg is golden brown, but be vigilant to keep it from burning.

I hope you'll enjoy making this recipe and sharing it with your family and friends.




  1. Shepherd’s Pie is a family favourite. We make ours using any leftover lamb roast. We put the meat through a mincer. Add in whatever vegetables we want. The mashed potato top comes out of the oven all browned & delicious. Obviously showing my British heritage here.

    1. Mary, the lamb roast filling sounds heavenly. What a great idea to use up leftover meat! Thank you for the suggestion.

  2. Sounds delicious. I make something similar and my oldest son loves it! This is slightly different though and I might give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome, Caroline! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  3. You're making me hungry! My recipe is called Heart Smart Shepherd's Pie but it uses ground beef. It's a great way to use leftovers, even leftover mashed potatoes.

  4. Yes, you can make a "light & lean" version of Shepherd's Pie. That's a great suggestion, Peggy. And I'm getting hungry too!

  5. I've never tried Cottage Pie! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  6. You're welcome, Britney! I hope you enjoy it. It's very easy to make.