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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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