This dish has been in my family for many years. This dish was one of my favorites growing up and is now my family’s favorite. I am always getting requests to make this all the time. It is so simply made and yet it is so delicious. The only thing I switch up in this recipe is lamb and red wine when I make shepherd’s pie and the broth that I use when I make cottage pie. I switch up the chicken broth for beef broth on occasion. It is quite a flavor change in this dish when you switch out the little things.
As usual I will leave some add ins or swap outs at the end of this recipe so you can make it your own. I guess this is why I love this recipe so much. It is so easy and versatile. So let’s get to it….
4-5 potatoes- peeled and cubed
1 C. milk ( I use 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup cream)
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper – to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion – diced
3 carrots- peeled and diced small
1 clove garlic – minced
1 lb. ground beef or lamb ( beef for cottage pie – lamb for shepherd’s pie)
1 c. red wine ( for shepherds pie) optional
salt and pepper – to taste
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 C. chicken broth or beef broth
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh thyme ( 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 C. corn
1/2 C. peas
1 C. green beans
2 tbsp flour
- For the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
- In the meantime, In a large skillet over med-low heat add the ground beef and cook until cooked through. If there is any grease from the beef you can drain it off. Remove the ground beef from the pan and set aside.
- In the same skillet add the olive oil, onion, and carrots. Cook until they are tender. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and mix well. Make sure the tomato paste is well mixed before adding the remaining ingredients. Add the flour and mix. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Add in the broth and worcestershire sauce and mix well. If you find the mixture is getting to thick you can add in 1/4 cup of water or broth to thin it out until you reach a saucy consistency. If you plan on using the red wine you can sub out the water for the wine. Add in the corn, peas, and green beans and cook for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- At this point you can pour the mixture in to an oven safe dish ( 8×12 or 9×13) or a large cast iron skillet. Level off and set aside.
- When the potatoes are done, drain them and place them back into the sauce pan. Using a potato masher, smash the potatoes and butter to desired consistency. In a bowl whisk together the milk and cream along with the egg, salt and pepper. Add a little at a time until you get the desired consistency. I usually use the whole amount. Place the potatoes over the meat mixture and spread over the top evenly. Bake for about 15 to 25 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.
let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. You can top it with herbs or scallions.
- If you want to make shepherd’s pie use ground lamb and red wine. It makes for a sweeter and more bold flavor. It is uniquely delicious made this way and it is the prime ingredients that make shepherd’s pie.
- If you want to make cottage pie sub out the ground lamb for ground beef, chicken, or turkey. Sub out the red wine for chicken broth or beef broth. This makes shepherd’s pie a cottage pie. This is it’s own flavor and one that I make more often.
- Add ins for the potato mixture- You can add herbs, cheese, or scallions. I tend to add the cheese (if requested) before I bake the pie. I add the herbs/scallions as a topper at the end before I serve. I also like to serve this with a light side salad and a light dressing on the side. This is a heavier meal so a salad pairs well with it.
- If you want to taste the potatoes for seasoning before topping on the meat mixture, taste the potatoes before adding in the egg. I will add the milk and seasoning and then taste. I will then mix my cream with the egg and mix in when the seasoning is perfect.
- I sometimes red pepper flakes for a bit of heat if I am in the mood for spicy cottage/shepherd’s pie. This is optional.
- If you are using frozen vegetable like I used in my video, add them after you cook the onion. ( I love using frozen vegetables like corn, peas, carrots, and green beans in place of fresh when I have them on hand) It saves me a few steps.
You can check out my video (linked below) if you would like to see step by step instructions.