Pat’s Cottage Pie

Here’s the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie: If it’s made with lamb, it’s shepherd’s pie. If it’s with beef or other meats, it’s cottage pie. Simple enough? Here’s my recipe for cottage pie.


  • 4 large russet potatoes (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions (1 pound total), chopped
  • 2 large garlic clove, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large can Veg-all, drained
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)


Prepare the potatoes as you would for making mashed potatoes. Peel as needed, chop, place in pot. fill w/water to just above the potatoes & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer till just soft, 10 to 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are simmering, brown the ground beef in skillet or pan. Breaking up and stirring till brown all the way through.

Heat oven to 500℉.

Drain the cooked beef. Move beef to a plate.

Add the olive oil to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Sautee the onion and garlive till golden and tender. Add the meat back to the pan, along with the tomato puree and drained canned vegetables. Stir till the mixture is even.

Drain the potatoes when soft and tender. Return them to pot, adding the half-and-half, along with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the meat mixture in a 13 by 9 glass cake pan. Smooth it to a level surface. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Add the potatoes, spreading along the surface till the meat is almost completely covered. Drag the tines of a fork along the surface on potatoes to create grooves in the potatoes.

Bake for about an hour, till potatoes are golden.

Remove, let cool, eat.

Original recipe, Nan’s Shepherd’s Pie


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