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Easy Peasy Cottage Pie: left-over ingredients day

Easy Peasy Cottage Pie: left-over ingredients day

Some of you probably know what a Shepard’s Pie is but might not know a Cottage Pie. Cottage Pie is in fact a Shephard’s Pie but with minced beef instead of lamb. There are many recipes for this dish but what it all comes down to is that it is the perfect dish to put all your left over veggies in. It is the quintessential Friday ‘what do I have leftover in my fridge dish’. 

I will give you a list of ingredients but you can totally change this up.  I’ll also give you some other options to use.

Here you can see that the bottom is made of a meat and veggie mix and the top is potato mash

Here you can see that the bottom is made of a meat and veggie mix and the top is potato mash

The basis of a Shepherds or Cottage pie is a potato mash that goes on top and a meat and veggie stew that sits on the bottom. It’s very easy to make ahead of time. Great for big groups as well. You could even make this dish way ahead of time and freeze it. Whenever you need it, just defrost and pop into the oven.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 800g potatoes, peeled and in parts
  • 1 big leak
  • 1 big carrot
  • 2 or 3 stems of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 50g butter
  • 500g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes (400g)
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cube beef stock
  • 150g grated cheese (f.e. Parmesan, Gouda, cheddar etc)
  • optional: glass of red wine
  • optional: Worcestershire sauce
  • optional: 3 tbsp plain flour

cottage pie

I made a very quick and simple cottage pie this time so I didn’t add any wine, Worcestershire sauce or flour to mine. If you want a more originally British version and thicker sauce you should do this. Add 3 tbsp of plain flour to the sauce at preparation point 3, stir well. Than add the wine at the end of point 3. Let it reduce a bit and than add the Worcestershire sauce. Now the sauce should simmer a bit longer than the 20 min. Probably about 40 minutes.


  1. Cook the potatoes in salted water for app 20 minutes until soft.
  2. Cut all the veggies and fry the minced meat with the vegetables and garlic until the meat has browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cut them up into smaller pieces (you can do this with a wooden spoon or other stirring utensil), add the herbs and stock and simmer for app 20 min.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees / 200 degrees fan.
  5. Drain the potatoes and mash them with the cheese. It shouldn’t be to smooth, big chunks are okay. But if you do like it very smooth just don’t drain all the cooking water or add a bit of milk.
  6. Grease a big oven dish or small individual oven dishes. I’ve used two-person dishes. Put the meat mixture on the bottom and top with the mash. If you want a crispy crust than sprinkle some grated cheese on top. If not (how I did it) put diced up pieces of butter on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for app 25-30 minutes until golden.

As far as the changing the ingredients goes, you will always need minced meat and potatoes. Or else, it won’t be a Cottage or Shepard’s Pie. But you can play around with the veggies. I added canned peas as I had half a can open in my fridge from the day before. You could use onions instead of leak, a bay leaf or other dried herbs instead of the rosemary and thyme. And you could definitely add more vegetables like carrot (watch out as it will make the dish sweeter), add diced zucchini, paprika, pumpkin, beans etc. Just make sure to taste the meat mixture regularly as everything you add will change the taste.



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