EASY CHEESY COTTAGE PIE
Today I am making Cottage Pie, sometimes called shepherd’s pie. This is a common dish in the UK and Australia. The difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie is that cottage pie uses beef and shepherd’s pie uses lamb. Both delicious, but basically they are both a layered casserole of meat, gravy, vegetables, potatoes and cheese.
Cottage Pie for Everyone!
I have had cottage pie many times growing up, in different variations, but I kind of forgot about cottage pie in my adult life. A couple years ago I visited my sister, while she was living in England. She made a delicious cottage pie for dinner for my family. It was a huge hit, all my picky boys loved it! With four sons and a picky husband, this doesn’t happen very often. They all know they are eating whatever I make, and they are pretty good about it, but it is so satisfying to serve food people love.
Does Dinner Get Any Easier Than This?
When she showed my how she made it, that was just a giant bonus. It is one of the easiest dinners you can imagine. She doesn’t even really have a recipe, she just throws it together, making small changes often, depending on what’s on sale or in season. When I got home, I put cottage pie into our dinner rotation. I played with the ingredients too, and you can make some really fancy cottage pies, but I landed on this combination for my any night, dinner rotation.
I do some pre prep for meals like this. This dinner uses two of my kitchen pre prep, not so secret, secrets. First, I always have a pound of browned, ground beef, in a Ziploc bags in my freezer. I usually buy a 5 pound pack of ground beef at Costco and brown the whole thing, then separate it into 5 Ziploc bags. Huge time saver.
The other pre prep tip is if I am ever making mashed potatoes, I make enough for two or three meals. I don’t love making mashed potatoes, so if I am going to do it, I might as well get a couple meals out of it. For example, if I make a roast on Sunday with mashed potatoes, I just double it and put half in a air tight container in the fridge. Then on maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, I will make the Shepard’s Pie for dinner and use the potatoes I saved from Sunday. Yay, when this all works out right! This recipe comes together so fast when you already have your meat and potatoes cooked.
This recipe calls for gravy, which can be bought in a can, a powder mix or even leftovers from Sunday’s roast. For my cottage pie, I use Bisto Beef gravy mix which is not super easy to find in the US. They do carry it at Cost Plus World Market but it is pricey. I order mine on Amazon. The price is good but it takes a few weeks to get here from the UK. There are some really good gravy option in our supermarkets, but I really like Bisto, so I just make a big Amazon order once a year, or so.
Yay for leftovers.
This recipe makes a lot, but good thing for us, we love leftovers. This is one of those dinners that are just as good, or even better, the second or third day.
I love hearing about all the variations of cottage pie. Comment below and let us know how you like your cottage pie. If you are new to cottage pie, seriously try it, you will love it. Let us know how it goes.
- 2 pounds frozen mixed vegatables I like corn, carrots, green beans
- 1 16 ounce can of beef gravy or equivalent in water and gravy mix
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 pound ground beef
Boil your quartered potatoes in a large pot of water, making sure the water covers the potatoes by at least an inch. Boil until the potatoes are soft, and easily pierced by a fork, about 15 minutes.
While your potatoes are cooking, brown the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once your meat is cooked, drain off excess fat. Add frozen vegetables and gravy to your ground beef skillet. Stir and simmer, until liquid is mostly combined. Only about 10 minutes.
When your potatoes are done, drain them and turn them into mashed potatoes, by mashing them with about 4 tablespoons of butter, and a couple tablespoons of milk. Mash and stir until they are just how you like them. Season with salt and pepper.
Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. First layer your meat and vegetable gravy, then cover with mashed potatoes. Spreading the potatoes can be tricky. I usually put in 6 big spoonfuls,, then use a fork to cover the first layer. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes,