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How to make a cottage pie

Updated on April 16, 2012
Cottage pie
Cottage pie | Source

A cheap meal for the family- quick and easy

Some days I need a quick and easy recipe to feed my family and any additional hangers- on that seem to appear at meal times. One of my tried and tested recipes is Cottage Pie,which involves a little preparation but once you have it in the oven you can get on and finish the ironing or heavens forbid just relax!



1lb minced beef or steak

onion (optional)

gravy mix ( instant granules are fine)

2lb + potatoes

milk and a knob of butter.



First job is to put a saucepan on to boil the potatoes. I usually use about 2lb potatoes to 1lb meat, however if you have more eating you can use more potatoes to fill them up! Peel the potatoes and put them in the pan, adding a little salt. Bring the water to the boil and cook the potatoes until they are soft.

Whilst the potatoes are cooking take a heavy based frying pan. I use Fry Light 1 calorie spray oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Brown the mince and keep stiring it so that it does not stick. If I am putting onion in I do it now but most of my family don't like it.Add a couple of teaspoons of gravy granules- I use Bisto, and some boiling water. Keep stiring the mixture for 5 minutes or so.

I then use a flour sieve and press the meat into it, taking out all the gravy juices and fat from the meat. I reserve this liquid and allow to cool.

The meat is put into the oven proof dish and evenly spread around the bottom of the dish.

At this point the potatoes should be done so I mash them with some butter and some milk. I cheat and use a hand mixer as I think that you get a much fluffier potato. Spoon this mixture over the mince , making sure that all of the mince is covered. Taking your fork, make grooves over the potato ,as this will help it brown.


Take the cottage pie and place in a hot oven 375degrees for 45 minutes which gives the pie a lovely brown crust.The pie can be served with a variety of healthy vegetables, carrots, peas , caulifower to name a few. My family like beans, heinz 57 of course and loads of gravy.

The juices that you saved earlier will have formed a layer of fat. Skim that fat off and make the gravy- tasty and a lower fat option.

This meal is ideal if you have a growing family or like mine have various visitors with little notice. Make a cottage pie for your family once and it will become a popular meal.

Some people have asked me what is the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie. As far as I can see Shepherd's Pie is made out of minced lamb with the addition of some carrot. I think you could follow the recipe above with lamb but I would have to really drain the liquid to drain the fat off as lamb can be fatty,


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    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      its a family favourite- especially at the moment when it is a bit cold

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      A great quick and easy recipe! I've read about these and I think it's so good of you to share the secrets of making one. Voted up!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      7 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This looks yummy is it like cottage pie then? Voted up!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I think that I have only eaten something similar to this once or twice, but it is good. I can see where it would help fill up some hungry teenagers...especially boys who seem to have hollow legs at those ages. (Remembering my brothers!) :) Thanks for your recipe. Up and useful votes.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Ref Elf-thanks for dropping by- I think the frozen veg would be a no no in our family. I cant see them with salad either, but then again it is rare to see my family with any vegetables- especially the boys!

    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      This sounds like my Grandma's recipe. My mother used to put frozen mixed veg in hers (which all us kids loathed), but I can fry up some fresh mushrooms with the meat and also some onion now that the kids are grown. We still all like the plain version though - lovely with a salad.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Maya Pillau= yes, i think spice would work with the chicken. The best thing is that if you suddenly have guests you can serve more vegetable with it and a pie for six suddenly becomes a pie for ten!

    • Maya Pillai 2010 profile image

      Maya Pillai 2010 

      8 years ago from Pune, India

      Sounds yummy and mouth watering.

      I do not take red meat... I shall try it out with chicken mince.

      My family would love it. Though I would have to add more spice.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I might try the cheese, onions are a no no - son and daughters boyfriend hate them- worcestershire sauce- not sure? as long as my mums not there! its a nightmare and a wonder we ever get to eat anything at all!

      thanks for the idea Jeannie

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Just add a topping of grated cheese or add a dash of Worcester Sauce to the mince and onions are a must!

      But then i have only one kid in the family my Partner!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      9 years ago from USA

      MMM. Sounds good.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I don't ususally make it in the summer but if it gets any colder and wintry I will be making it next week!

    • elayne001 profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Sounds very delicious - some comfort food! Thanks for sharing.

    • U Neek profile image

      U Neek 

      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      This is a little different, but not much from the way I make it. I just didn't know to call it cottage pie. My family likes it and it is very filling. I love reading you and experiencing the different usage of English. Isn't it amazing that we 'speak' the same language but have such different words for the same thing. Love the "knob of butter," though I'm not sure just how much that might be. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your hubs. Oh, and I'm glad you clarified that you are the one on the right in your photo. LOL

    • K Partin profile image

      K Partin 

      9 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

      Hey Case sounds really good. I'm very familiar with Shepards Pie, so I will try this one for sure too. thanks for sharing. K.


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