Cottage/ Shepherd's Pie

"I know, I know, traditional 'Shepard's pie' is made with lamb. I don't like lamb. So technically, this is called 'Cottage Pie'. Make it with lamb if you prefer. But that's gross. I guess you could also use a mixture of pork, beef and lamb. I mostly just use beef. Sometimes I add fried panceta, but that's just me. I say this is a "Canadian" dish. It's a British Isles/ Scottish thing. But I'm Canadian, so I'm stealing credit for my home team. My kids love this. I love how easy it is to make, freeze, reheat and eat. I might make five of them at once and pop them into the freezer for fast meals on cool nights. Also, I like mashed potatoes. A lot. The 'prep' time is how long it takes me to peel potatoes and chop an onion. The cooking time is from the time the onion hits the pan until the whole deal is out of the oven."
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Ready In:
2 quart cassarole dish




  • Peel and quarter potatoes and set them in a pot of water to boil (on high).
  • In a large pan on the stove, quick fry the onions in the olive oil (maybe 2 minutes), until they are translucent- NOT burned.
  • Add the minced garlic to the onions and fry for 30 sec to 1 minute longer.
  • Add the lean (or extra lean) ground beef.
  • Fry the beef/ onions until the beef is BROWN. Not gray. BROWN. Some bits might stick to the bottom. That's flavour, that's good. If there is a lot of fat, try to drain some off.
  • In a bowl mix a couple teaspoons of water with the Oxo packets (or just use fresh beef stock), and deglaze the pan with the beef stock.
  • Add your salt and pepper now too- I find it takes quite a lot of salt. Almost half a teaspoon.
  • Next, add the flour to the remaining water and blend it well.
  • Pour it into the beef/onion/stock mixture and let it thicken for a few minutes. I stir vigorously here so that there aren't any "lumps" in the gravy.
  • Once the 'gravy' is thick, I add the veggies. Usually I use frozen, and just keep adding them until I think there are enough.
  • By this time, your potatoes should be ready to mash.
  • Salt, butter, milk and mash, until your potatoes are thick and creamy.
  • Then, here's my trick (Thank You, Alton Brown)- I add a raw egg and mash the heck out of all of it. The egg helps the potatoes stay 'together' and brown nicely. Try it one time, and if you don't like it, leave the egg out next time.
  • Pour the meat mixture into a cassarole dish (size depends on whether you like a "deep" pie).
  • Top with the potatoes. I have a friend who puts some shredded cheese on top. I've had it, it's pretty good, but I prefer plain potatoes with a smidgen of butter smeared around the top.
  • Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and golden brown. Or, freeze it unbaked, well wrapped in saran wrap and tinfoil. Just remember to take the saran wrap off, because I forgot once, and that's a mess you just don't want to think about.

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  1. GibbyLou
    We enjoyed this dish very much. I also appreciated the tone in which the recipe was written. I used 2 cups of water in the meat mixture to make the gravy. With less than that it was pasty. I used 3 large russet potatoes for the mashed potatoes and a bit more than 1 cup of milk. I should have backed off the amount of milk since I did opt for the egg. I baked this in 6 - 8 oz ramekins and it worked very well. It still took 20 minutes for the mashed potatoes to get some brown on the top. The ratio of meat mixture to potatoes was about 1:1 before cooking. After cooking it seemed more like 1:2, and we all agreed that next time less mashed potatoes would be preferred. Thanks for sharing! Made for Spring PAC 2014.


I live with my husband and two wonderful children in one of the coldest cities on the planet. To stay warm all winter I cook. I cook for fun, for stress relief, for dinner, for friends, for anything.
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