I made my first cottage pie in 2005 when I was 21 for my boyfriend (now husband,) Martyn. It is his favorite meal from back home in England. I used a bag of ‘shepard’s pie’ seasoning, ground beef, and potatoes. Since then, I have gotten married, had a child, and perfected my own recipe using fresh ingredients.
For the Meat Mixture:
2 lbs grass fed ground beef
2 small/medium onions
2 tbsp flour (optional)
A handful of fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
2 cups (ish) sliced baby bella mushrooms
Salt and Pepper
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 Carrots finely diced
2 cups peas (I usually use frozen or leave them out since I make this meal mid-winter when peas are out of season in NY)
Mashed Potato Layer:
6-8 medium sized russet potatoes (or any good mashing potatoes)
Note: you can leave the skins on if you like the texture/added fiber
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 stick grass fed butter
Salt and Pepper
Note- Mashed potatoes take a LOT of salt, just taste as you add a little at a time until you get what you like
A bit of good cheddar cheese to grate over the top
I like to use my 12 inch cast iron skillet but you can also use a baking/casserole dish for your final product.
In a separate pot, boil about a gallon of salted water for your mashed potatoes. Peel and roughly chop your potatoes. You can leave the peel on if you like, just make sure you clean the potatoes first 😉 Reserve your potatoes in a bowl with cold water so they don’t brown while you’re waiting for the water to boil.
Brown your ground beef and using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the skillet. Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the bottom of the pan. Sometimes using grass fed meat yields less fat than this. In that case, just add a little oil or butter. It does not have to be exact.
Throw your potatoes into the boiling water. They take about 15-20 minutes and they should be done around the same time the meat mixture is done. In a small saucepan, heat your cream and butter until scalded but not boiling.
Cook your onions in the fat until translucent. Add the mushroom and cook until browned. Add the tomato paste your thyme and flour and cook for about 2 minutes…the flour will begin to smell nutty when cooked. Add your red wine, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook down the wine a bit and then add your stock.
Add the carrots and peas to this mixture and cook for a few minutes. Add the ground beef back to the pan and stir to combine everything. Taste and adjust seasonings. The carrots and peas will cook through in the oven.
Drain your potatoes but don’t rinse. Add the cream/butter mixture and mash your potatoes with a masher. I like to throw this mixture into my stand mixer and whip them for 30 seconds but this step is not necessary. Taste and salt/pepper accordingly.
If using a casserole dish, butter it before adding the beef and vegetable layer and topping with the mashed potatoes. When I use my cast iron, I don’t butter it and it turns out great. Spread the mashed potatoes out over the beef and cover with some grated cheddar cheese and cover with foil.
Pop into the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes covered. Remove the foil/cover and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. If the top isn’t browned, you can put it under the broiler for a minute or two to get the cheese bubbling. Remove from the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes. This will let the sauce around the meat firm up a bit so it doesn’t run all over your plate.
Serve with pickled cabbage or a side salad.
I hope this helps you snag a husband as great as mine is 😉
Enjoy, SW and Sweet P