Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(191 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins

Skill level



Serves 10

This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 850ml beef stock
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped
  • 225ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 200g strong cheddar, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg

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  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden. Or follow the steps (below) to freeze.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2010

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Jamest001's picture

Good recipe. But it serves 10 people. Can you give the ingredients list for 5 people as well in future.

MandyVC's picture

Or, you could just halve the ingredients?

Kharris92130's picture

Had leftover brisket and adapted this recipe to rave reviews! Used a bottle of porter in place of the wine, reduced the Worcestershire sauce to 2 TBSP, and added some sliced mushrooms. It had to simmer longer to reduce liquid, but the results were amazing!

kerryp30's picture
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Really nice cottage pie, so handy to have in the freezer for busy evenings so well worth making a few. I also like to add peas if I have them in.

Flirtyfabgirl's picture
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One word........ Beautiful!!!!

carolondon's picture

I have made this a few times now and love it, very easy to adapt to what you have in without spoiling it.
I really like it with a swede and carrot mash on top, that way you can have some crispy roasties on the side to mop up the gravy.

sankm28's picture

Great recipe - especially love the cheese and nutmeg in the mash! Perfect!

nursenicola's picture

Very tasty cottage pie, highly recommended! Turned out even better than I anticipated. Made a few additions by adding leek and some gravy granules. Doubled up on all quantities and froze a extra one. (I'm not convinced that this would actually feed 10 people, it's more like 6 good portions)

sushinigr's picture

The best ever cottage pie! Easy to make and full of flavours

cielamae's picture

Absolutely a crowd pleaser! I never had cottage pie before, but I risked making it as I had guests coming over for Sunday lunch. Most of all, it was mostly guys who came over who had cottage pie before! It was nerve-racking, but to my surprise I had a lot of compliments from all my guy friends and loved it! No left-overs and mostly everyone had seconds! It was tasty and my ever first cottage pie! It was delicious and I will definitely be making this again! Cheap and easy to make when feeding a crowd!

cheftara's picture

Great recipe. I left out wine and celery. Added extra garlic and onion bisto gravy granules. Very tasty. I also used soya milk and dairy free marg in the mash with white pepper and salt.

l0ve2bak3's picture

This is a great recipe and I often use it when we have people coming round for tea. I'd recommend leaving it to simmer as long as possible, as it really does bring all the flavours out. Lovely.

didichick's picture

This is gorgeous, perfect on a winter's night. Didn't have thyme, used rosemary. Takes a while but can be made ahead and frozen. Yum!

moonfan's picture
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Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! So delicious and perfect for those cold evenings.

Rara's picture

This is delicious! I doubled up on the ingredients and froze a batch. I used some Italian mixed herbs instead of sprigs of thyme and felt the potatoes needed a bit more liquid so as not to dry out in the oven ,so added slightly more milk and butter. I simmered the mixture right down to thicken and left it go cold before putting on the potatoes as they just sink into it otherwise. Such a lovely tasty recipe and the kids love it too. Perfect for the winter.

bassymum's picture

Superb, well worth the time taken.

Fluffypanda's picture

I omitted the red wine, substituted the celery with mushrooms and for the mash used sweet potato and parsnips along with white potatoes. I also added Djon mustard instead of the nutmeg. One of the nicest cottage pies I've made. It does take a little longer but really worth it!

gemma99's picture

This is such a good recipe. I made it on Monday knowing that it would be too late to eat that same evening so actually made it to reheat for Tuesdays tea! Gorgeous! didn't realise I didn't have any puree until I went to the cupboard to get itt! GRRR.
It was really nice without but I'm sure it will be even better next time with puree added! :)
Now a firm fave in our household!

katrinahewlett's picture

Delicious, a real pleasure to tuck into! Freezes brilliantly and defrosts easily in the microwave. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough, I dragged a portion out from the freezer last night for my dinner, wacked it in the micro with a portion of frozen peas - a real taste sensation!!!

kitty's picture

Delicious! I made a veggie version using Quorn mince, veg stock and a little soy sauce (instead of worcestershire). Went down well with meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters alike.