Easy Cottage Pie
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Ground beef is simmered with onions, garlic, thyme, red wine and tomato get added to make a savory base that gets topped with vegetables and then mashed potatoes. Cheese is sprinkled on top and baked to a bubbly, golden brown for my Easy Cottage Pie! Sound good? It’s perfect for feeding a crowd.
Easy Cottage Pie
With St. Patricks Day soon approaching I thought I would either make the usual corned beef and cabbage dinner, or maybe a Shepherds Pie.
So talking about that old standby of corned beef and cabbage that most Americans make and associate with the Irish as a staple St. Patricks Day dinner, it’s actuality not really an Irish national dish at all. Corned Beef was a luxury item back in the 18th and 19th centuries and the “corned” aspect of using rock salt the size of corn kernels to preserve meats was an expense not many impoverished Irish farmers could afford.
It was manufactured and exported to the British and their colonies as a food source, but really the Irish used bacon and cabbage in their version. When Irish immigrants came to the United States corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon. Who knows how it stuck or became what it stands for today, but the two are forever associated.
Anyways, Cottage Pie was a dish my mom used to occasionally make and it brings back fond memories of her.
What is Cottage Pie?
Cottage Pie is made using ground beef in a gravy sauce with vegetables and a mashed potato crust topping that’s baked.
What is Shepherds Pie?
Shepherds Pie is made using lamb, chunks or ground (mince) in a gravy sauce with vegetables and a mashed potato crust topping that’s baked.
I make it with ground (mince) lamb, and that version is known as Shepherds Pie, too. Over the years the origin of both seems to be muddled. British, Scottish or Irish in origin, both are delicious.
First peel, chop and boil the potatoes in heavily salted water. Mash with a little butter, plain Greek yogurt and milk until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
Next sauté the onions and garlic in the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle the beef mixture with the flour and cook for a minute or two.
Add the tomato paste and cook stirring to mix in for a few minutes. Add the thyme and pour in the beef stock and red wine. Using my wooden spoon I scraped up all the bits to make sure to get every bit of flavor packed into this sauce.
Spread this meat mixture on the bottom of a 13×9″ baking dish and add the fresh cut corn and steamed, cut green beans (my mom’s addition). Feel free to use canned here, but I had both on hand and feel fresh is always better.
Next spread the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with paprika and grated Parmesan cheese. I use a fork to scrape cross hatch marks across the mashed potato topping to create ridges that brown well in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Serve with some chopped parsley for garnish and look out. This is amazing and packed with flavor. The red wine and thyme shine and really makes this meal delicious.
The tangy flavor of the yogurt and parmesan cheese make the mashed potato topping extra good.
My favorite parts are the edges where the red wine and tomato sauce mixture bubbled and crisped on the mashed potatoes, so good. Enjoy!
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking March 2014 and has been updated with new content, photos and a video.
Watch how to make this below!
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Easy Cottage Pie
- 2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
- 2 tbsp bacon fat
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 cup green beans (or peas)
- 4 russet potatoes roughly 6 cups chopped
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 1 tsp paprika
- chopped thyme for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Peel, chop and boil the potatoes in heavily salted water. When fork tender, about 12-15 minutes, drain. Mash with a little butter, plain Greek yogurt and milk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle the beef mixture with the flour and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the tomato paste and cook stirring to mix in for a few minutes. Add the thyme and pour in the beef stock and red wine. Use a spoon to scrape up all the browned bits to get every bit of flavor packed into this sauce.
- Spread this meat mixture on the bottom of a 13x9" baking dish and add the fresh cut corn and steamed, cut green beans evenly over meat mixture. Feel free to use canned here, but I had both on hand and feel fresh is always better.
- Carefully spread the mashed potatoes on top of vegetables and sprinkle with paprika and grated Parmesan cheese. I use a fork to scrape cross hatch marks across the mashed potato topping to create ridges that brown well in the oven. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This cottage pie is making me so hungry right now, Kevin! Loving the Greek yogurt in the mashed potatoes!
Mmmmm, it’s been so cold lately we’ve been on a comfort food bender!
This is the kind of dish that would be a hit with my husband and our two boys! Meat and potatoes always wins here!
Comfort food goodness!
Made this tonight and it was a success! I don’t think I will ever be a huge fan of mashed potatoes, but the meat was one of the best fillings I’ve made. Yes, I changed the vegetables to carrots and peas, but the red wine + tomato paste combo is on point!
Thanks Kathy, so glad you stopped by and tried this out. Happy Holidays!
Would you please recommend a red wine to use? I am thinking something with substance like a merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
Those two are my choices as well Courtney. Great for cooking!