Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(280 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


Serves 10

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal600
  • fat34g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre4g
  • protein37g
  • salt1.15g
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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 3 celery sticks, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 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


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 225ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g strong cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • freshly grated nutmeg



    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury


  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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28th Sep, 2016
This is a delicious recipe. I tend to make the base at least the day before I need it and then make up the mash and finish off later. Always goes down well. Definitely use the wine - adds good flavour.
12th Sep, 2016
Really delicious. Lots of flavours. Easy and enjoyable to make. I halved it down as didn't need ten servings and it was lovely. Agree that the nutmeg is a nice flavour in the mash.
20th Jun, 2016
Took quite a while to prepare. Decided to prepare one day and assemble the next. The cheeses mash topping is fabulous! I used extra cheese in the mash. The Nutmeg adds a special touch but you could manage without it. I'm going to make it again for a big family gathering so that some of my family (who live away) can take freshly prepared portions home for their next evening meal. Definitely worth the effort!
26th May, 2016
the mash is out of this world. I have never enjoyed cauliflower as i did with this meal.
4th Apr, 2016
I just cooked this tonight for my 2 boys and the wife, it's a very quick dish to prepare for the quality of meal, next time I will add some mushroom ketchup to the mince whilst browning. All in all, clean plates all round to my dogs dismay!
11th Mar, 2016
Fantastic but it did take all day to prepare it...Might have something to do with drinking the rest of the wine after using a large glass in the cooking Seriously, it does take time to prepare and cook it and you MUST allow time to cool down before adding the mash but it's well worth it. Freezing ??....No, there was none left it was that nice !
16th Feb, 2016
The BEST! I have made this several times for groups of up to 40 - people constantly rave about it. I make the filling ahead of time, freeze it, then a day before assemble with the potatoes - makes it easy on the day of the party to just cook. Making it again today for a family get-together. I don't add the cheese to the potatoes as some people don't like/are sensitive to cheese and it's never been missed. Try this and you'll love it!
7th Feb, 2016
Excellent recipe. It might take a while to make but it's definitely worth it. I threw in all the ingredients mentioned and it tasted amazing. The red wine and the nutmeg are such a great addition to the recipe, they really add flavour to the dish and I would not cook it without them as I reckon they make this cottage pie so tasty.
29th Jan, 2016
I really want to make this, but I have a couple of questions. The recipe calls for tomato puree - does this correspond to the American tomato paste, or to our tomato sauce? And how large are the baking pans? Thanks - I can't wait to try it!
1st Feb, 2016
I wish I could answer easily - I am not sure even though I have been to USA many times. Our tomato puree comes in a very small tin or a tube and is very condensed and used for cooking. As opposed to our tomato sauce - which is your ketchup. As regards the pans/dishes I used a glass oven proof casserole dish for serving and cooked this in the oven without the lid about 25 mins before serving so the potato went nice and crisp and the whole dish was nice and hot. You will enjoy


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