Red Meat Cottage pie with sweet potato mash

Published on September 19th, 2010 | by Gareth


Cottage Pie

First things first, Cottage pie isn’t the same as Sheppard’s pie. Cottage pie uses beef and Sheppard’s pie uses lamb (or Sheppard’s or a combination of the two). Cottage pie is a quick, cheap, nutritious favourite from my ‘nipperhood’ in England that Mum used to make. It’s a great way to use vege’s and beef left over from a Sunday roast and it always hits the mark when served with some HP sauce and fresh greens.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 mins


  • 600gm lean minced beef
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tblspns olive oil
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 8 potatoes (King Edwards if available, Royal Blues or sweet potatoes are also okay)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tblsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • Generous splash of dry sherry or 1 cup of red wine
  • 100gm grated mature cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bring a large pan of water to the boil. Whilst the water is boiling peel and chop the potatoes into quarters. For speed chop the potato smaller. Once the water is boiling add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until soft.

Whilst the potatoes are boiling finely dice the onions and add to a hot pan with the oil, fry over a medium heat until golden and sticky. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Reduce the heat and add the tomato puree, cook for 2 minutes, stir to prevent burning.

Increase the heat and add the minced beef, stir to prevent burning or it forming into large meat ball size clumps. Brown for approximately 5 minutes and add the wine/sherry, seasoning, stock and the carrots. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced.

Once the potatoes have boiled, drain and mash with a knob of butter, a few pinches of salt and 50ml of warm milk. If you have a potato ricer (kitchen accoutrement that resembles a large garlic press), now is the time to use it. Potato ricers produce smooth mash potato without the gluey consistency that you usually get from mashing. This is because mashing breaks down the plant cells which release starch.

By now the meat mixture should have reduced to a thick sauce and the carrots become soft. If not reduce for a little longer or add a tsp of arrow root mixed with 2 tsp of water to thicken the sauce.

Put the meat mixture in an oven proof dish and top with the mashed potato. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn on the grill for the last 5 minutes to make sure the top goes crunchy and golden.

Cottage pie

Cottage pie and sweet potato mash

Serve the finished cottage pie with broccoli, sprouts or cabbage and of course HP sauce.

As the weather in Sydney is beginning to warm up this is the last of the hearty ‘Anglo’ comfort food that I will be posting for a while.

Disclaimer: there aren’t really Sheppard’s in Sheppard’s pie, so don’t mince up Bo Peep.

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About the Author

Englishman in Sydney loves a whisky, pies and all things savoury. Digital Marketer by day, cook the rest of the time. Amateur writer, photographer & aspiring anthropologists.

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