Proper English Cottage Pie Recipe -
Proper English Cottage Pie Recipe

Proper English Cottage Pie

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"Proper English Cottage Pie is a delicious, very traditional mince pie (beef) topped with mashed potato. Serve with garden peas."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. To Make Meat Filling: Place a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in ground beef and saute 1 minute. Add onion and carrot, then continue to saute until meat is no longer pink and onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour, cinnamon, mixed herbs, and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste. Mix together, then add to beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of liquid has been absorbed. Spoon mixture into a 9 inch pie plate.
  4. To Make Potato Topping: Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Allow to come to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
  5. Mash potatoes until smooth, then add butter or margarine, followed by milk. Whip until fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread potatoes over beef filling. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.
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  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 26, 2006

I'm English, and apart from the addition of the pie crust (which I omitted), this is pretty authentic. Like others, I used a little ketchup instead of tomato paste. Also, I used Bisto Gravy Granules (from the British food store I go to) to thicken it. Finally, I threw in a handful of frozen peas. (Btw, Shepherd's Pie is made with ground lamb; Cottage Pie with ground beef).

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 13, 2011

Being from Australia, cottage pie is a favourite when it comes to comfort food for the family. Overall, this recipe is pretty close to the orignial. Defeinitely omit the cinnamon. Not sure why you would want to add cinnamon to a traditional cottage pie. Like a lot of other reviewers, i added worsteshire sauce, approx 2 teaspoons, as well as 1/2 cup of peas. I'd also recommend cutting back on the cheese. Just enough to brown on top of the mashed potato is sufficient. Finally, stick to lean ground can cut back on the the oily, greasy film which can overpower the taste of all other well as the waistline

Feb 09, 2007

This was very good, but not earth-shaking. I agree with other reviewers on several points: (1) Though cinnamon can add a nice element with red meat, here it comes through too strongly; cut back quite a bit on the amount. (2) Use less milk in the potatoes - just make them however you usually make your mashed potatoes. (3) I used water instead of beef broth and added some worcestershire sauce because the meat mixture seemed to need some extra flavor. Next time I would go a step further and use some garlic and extra seasonings to perk it up. Enjoy!

Jul 30, 2007

I made this will slighly over a pound of ground beef and 4 large russet potatos. I absolutely NEEDED a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish! It would have certainly boiled over in a pie dish or an 8 by 8 dish. This recipe turned out wonderful! I changed the recipe a bit because I was just using ingredients I had on hand. I didn't use carrots, used chicken broth instead of beef, and used 1 tbsp dried parsley instead of fresh. I also used the full amount of milk and would do it that way again, although it would probably be fine with less. I used the full amount of cinnamon, and hardly noticed it. It didn't seem "overpowering" at all. I also added garlic salt to the potatos for more flavor. I'll make this one again!

Jun 21, 2006

The pie was very good. My husband enjoys English dishes and I expected something like the "shepherd's pie" that was served in the school cafeteria many years ago. For a hamburger meal, it had a lovely, complex flavor. I followed the recipe except for using a pie crust, which does not seem authentic. I doubled the meat portion of the recipe and froze it in the pie plate to be topped with mashed potatoes later for a busy night meal. Also, I take a can of tomato paste and empty it into a zip baggy for freezing, then just break off what is needed (be sure to flatten paste before freezing).

Apr 21, 2003

This is a good basic recipe, but be prepared to make some changes. I did not have "Italian seasonings" so I just added a couple pinches garlic powder, basil and oregano. Also red pepper flakes and cumin. I did add a small pinch of cinnamon. I'm glad I did, it gave it an authentic taste and makes a difference. Also, be sure to add a lot more salt than is called for. I added a bunch more pinches, and I also added generous amounts of Wort. sauce. Otherwise, this would have been pretty bland. Just keep tasting the meat throughout the process and keep adding until you like it. I also added frozen peas to the meat mixture.

Feb 14, 2003

Dennis the Menice really loved this recipe. I made a few changes though. I didn't have any fresh parsley laying around so I used about 1 Tbsp dried parsley. I ran to the store to get tomato paste (which I hate buying a whole can of tomato paste for just 1 Tbsp). As a previous review stated using ketchup instead adds a little sweetness to the recipe so I added an additional 1 Tbsp of ketchup too. Next time I'll just use the ketchup. I also added 1 Tbsp of Worchestershire (a must) and 1 tsp of dijon mustard for a little zing. For the mashed potatoes, I nuked some of Stoffers frozen garlic mashed potatoes and spread it on top of the meat mixture to save time. Quick, easy and delish.

Aug 12, 2011

I am English and this recipe seems to be pretty authentic. However, cinnamon would not be used in an English dish like this. I have noticed a couple of reviewers mention a pie crust and it not being authentic to the recipe. I agree, Cottage Pie does not have a pie crust, but I can see no reference to it in this recipe. As mentioned in another review, Worcestershire Sauce adds valuable flavor to the meat in this dish. Don't add too much tomato paste, if any and just play around with herbs til you get the flavor you like. You don't need to whip the potatoes, just make them as you normally would and spoon them onto the meat - the rougher, the better. I even fluff mine with a fork before adding the cheese, which makes the peaks a little crunchy. This dish is not meant to be complicated, so keep it simple. It's a quick and easy meal to make on a budget. A great comfort food and very tasty.


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  • Calories
  • 512 kcal
  • 26%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 34.8 g
  • 11%
  • Cholesterol
  • 100 mg
  • 33%
  • Fat
  • 30.9 g
  • 47%
  • Fiber
  • 4.9 g
  • 20%
  • Protein
  • 24.1 g
  • 48%
  • Sodium
  • 491 mg
  • 20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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