Rich And Savory Cottage Pie Recipe

When it comes to comfort food, there really isn't any dish more comforting than a cottage pie. While it is similar to shepherd's pie, a cottage pie features beef as the main protein, whereas a shepherd's pie gives minced lamb a time to shine. Both savory dishes are topped with mashed potatoes, making it an all-in-one dish that is incredibly warming and comforting. 

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes enjoys the comfort of a good cottage pie, and this is a recipe that she keeps in her rotation for the cooler months. "This dish is a staple for me," she says. "It's so warming, wholesome and hearty — the perfect winter dinner." Of course, you aren't limited to wintertime to enjoy a cottage pie, but it is strongly recommended. The rich, savory, warm flavors really shine on a chilly night, but we can confirm that this dish does taste just as good in the summertime. This is also a great dish for feeding a family, with protein, vegetables, and a starch coming together in one loaded scoopful. 

Gather the ingredients for this cottage pie recipe

As we've already covered, ground beef is the star of this pie, but you'll need some other ingredients to round it out. You'll need olive oil, an onion, celery, a carrot, red wine (Brookes opts for a merlot, but any dry type will do here), tomato purée, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. As for the mashed potato topping, you'll need peeled and diced potatoes, butter, and milk. "I find that the red wine and Worcestershire sauce are 2 key ingredients here, as they help to add a real depth of flavor," Brookes notes. 

Make the beef filling

Kick things off by heating up the olive oil in a large pot. Add in the diced onion, celery, and carrot, and allow these ingredients to cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened. Then, turn the heat up to high and add in the ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Allow the beef to cook through, about 5 minutes. 

Next, add in the wine and let it simmer in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add in the tomato purée, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Give everything a good stir, then simmer everything for about 30 minutes. 

Boil and mash the potatoes

While the beef and vegetables simmer, you can turn your focus to the potatoes. Add the peeled and diced potatoes to a large saucepan of boiling water, and let them cook for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain them, then leave the potatoes to steam for a few minutes. Add them back to the saucepan, along with the butter, milk, and a bit of salt to taste. Finally, mash with a potato masher, until the potatoes have a smooth and creamy consistency. 

Assemble the cottage pie

Get the oven preheating to 400 F. Mix the cornstarch with a bit of water to form a slurry, then stir it into the beef mixture, allowing the sauce to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the beef mixture evenly in a large, rectangular baking dish, and top with an even layer of mashed potatoes. Use a fork to score the top of the potatoes, making wavy lines across the surface. This will help the potatoes brown and caramelize in the oven. Finally, bake for 30 minutes, until the mashed potatoes are golden. 

Serve the cottage pie

This cottage pie is best enjoyed fresh from the oven, so dig right in after it's done. "This dish is great served with steamed greens such as broccoli, green peas, or peas," Brookes suggests. "You could also serve it with a fresh side salad too."

Because this recipe makes 6 servings, there's a good chance you'll have some leftovers. "Leftovers should keep well in the fridge up to 3 days. Just reheat in the oven or microwave," Brookes says. 

Rich And Savory Cottage Pie Recipe
4.9 from 35 ratings
This rich and savory cottage pie recipe is the perfect mixture of meat and potatoes that can be enjoyed all year round.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sliced cottage pie and vegetables
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, and carrot on a medium setting until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef, turn the heat to high, and break the beef apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. While the beef mixture simmers, cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Then, drain the potatoes, and leave them to steam for a few minutes.
  5. Return the potatoes to the pan, and add the butter, milk, and some salt to taste. Mash well until smooth. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  6. Mix the cornstarch with a little water, and pour this into the beef mixture. Stir well, cooking until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer the beef mixture to a large baking dish, and spread it out in an even layer. Spoon the mashed potato on top, and spread it out to cover the beef layer. Use a fork to score some lines in the mashed potatoes, bake for 30 minutes, then serve.
Rate this recipe