Hearty Cottage Pie is just one of those easy rotation dinners that you know is going to leave everyone feeling satisfied. Not only is it a comforting and delicious dish to make when the skies turn grey, but it is also a great way to use up leftover vegetables. Perfect for casual supper parties too.
Why is it called Cottage Pie?
The Cottage Pie’s history dates back to the 18th Century when the population started using potatoes as a staple food source.
At the time, making pie with potato was of course far cheaper than the alternative. The poorer people of Britain typically lived out in the country or rural areas in cottages. Because of this, a pie made from minced meat and mashed potatoes was known as a “Cottage Pie”.
In modern times, such a pie made with lamb is called Shepherd’s Pie.
Cottage Pie Layers
- Beef layer
- Potato layer
- Cheese layer
Achieving that rich beefy flavour
In this recipe, we’ve used Bisto gravy granules to help along with the thickening, as well as a good helping of Worcestershire sauce to turn the mince layer into a rich gravy. Adding a touch of thyme also enhances the depth of the beefy flavour.
Top tip: Mash leaking into Cottage Pie?
To prevent the mash from leaking into the pie filling below, let the meat cool down before adding the potato topping, using a fork to roughen it up, so that the tips go crispy in the oven.
Can you freeze Cottage Pie?
This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully. Make sure the pie is completely cold, then cover it well with cling film and freeze. Defrost in the fridge overnight; then cook as per the recipe.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Bisto
- 1 ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 500 g beef mince
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cup water
- 2 tbsp beef stock
- ¼ cup cream
- 4 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp white pepper
- Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium to high heat and sauté onions until light brown.
- Add the mince and cook until no longer pink, about five to six minutes.
- Stir in the flour, add seasoning, sauces, the water that has been mixed with the beef stock and dried thyme. Mix well.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. The meat must be tender.
- Transfer the meat mixture to an oven dish.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain potatoes and mash them.
- Combine nutmeg, cream and egg yolk with butter, salt, and pepper. Mix into mashed potatoes.
- Add the potato mash on the mince, spread evenly with a fork. Sprinkle with the cheese.
- Place in preheated oven for 35 minutes.