Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie?

Cottage pie. Shepherd’s pie. There’s a difference.

An important difference.

Chances are you already know what that difference is, but confusing the two is guaranteed to rile us up over here at British Food and Travel.

So in case you don’t know the difference, let’s just make it clear:

Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb or mutton.

Cottage pie is made with beef.

Easy enough to remember since shepherds care for sheep, not cows.

Now that’s out of the way, whichever meat you choose to use, the dish is a traditional favourite for many. While many a gastropub serves it with a pretty side salad, it is a perfect meal on its own, or accompanied by a side of additional veggies.

In addition to onions, meat, and herbs, many people like to add diced carrots and perhaps some peas. On the other hand, Marguerite Patton uses just onions and tomatoes in her version, which we’re sharing below.

Add a good layer of mashed potato on top. For something a little different, mash some cheese into the potato, or try sweet potatoes.

Cottage Pie

2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks for boiling

1 lb minced beef

2 onions, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pint beef stock

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

mixed herbs

2 tbs butter plus extra for mashing the potatoes

Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain, mash with butter, and set to one side.

Brown the mince in a large pan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning, and herbs. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. If there is still too much liquid to your liking, you can thicken with a little flour or tomato puree.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4 or 180C.

Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish. Top with the potato, taking care to spread it out right to the edges. Use a fork to make patterns in the top – this creates nice crispy bits when cooked. Dab butter over the top.

Cook for 30 minutes. Serve with a side of greens and carrots.

cottage pie

Sweet potato topping makes a colourful change.



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