Got My Eye on a Cottage Pie

Pining for a cozy cottage with a warm fire in the English countryside? I don’t have one either, but this recipe helps me dream about it.



Ingredients for the meat filling:

1 cup of small diced onion

½ cup of carrot (peel, chop, two or three pulses in a food processor)

½ cup of celery (peel, chop, two or three pulses in a food processor)

1 pound of ground beef or lamb (or a combo of both)

3 tablespoons of oil (I prefer olive oil…feel free to use your favorite)

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of tomato paste

1 cup of beef stock (use chicken or vegetable if preferred)

½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon of Jugo or Bovril (beef flavor booster)

Cheddar cheese (optional – as much as you want)

Ingredients for the Mashed Potatoes:

1 ½ pound of russet potatoes

¼ cup of heavy cream, Half n’ Half, or milk

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of white pepper

2 tablespoons of butter

Step 1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or a large cast iron frying pan (the best). Put the carrot in first because it takes longer to cook.  After 3 minutes, add the onion and celery, and cook until the onions start to look soft and translucent.

Step 2. Start heating a second large skillet OR transfer the vegetables to a soup bowl.

Place the beef or lamb into the hot skillet and let it cook. It’s best to leave meat alone for 2-3 minutes before turning or moving it around. You want to get some color on it. If you have large clumps of meat, break it up. Once the meat is cooked, add the veggies back into the skillet.

Mix the meat and veggies together and then sprinkle in the flour. Mix and leave it for at least one minute.  The flour has to toast or else the finished pie will have a pasty raw dough taste.

Step 3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the cheese), bring to a boil and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes.

Step 4. Peel and quarter the potatoes and bring to a boil until fork tender.

Step 5. Bring the butter and cream to room temperature (microwave if needed).

Step 6. Drain potatoes and mash (I use a ricer).

Step 7. Add the butter, cream, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and beat with a hand mixer.


Putting it All Together:

I prefer to make individual servings. Spoon the meat mixture into a single-serving croc until its half-full. Then place the mashed potatoes on top.  Don’t press the potato into the meat mixture; you want it to float on top, creating two distinct layers. Use a rubber spatula to create a potato seal around the edges.

If you’re ready to eat right away, preheat your oven to 325 and place the crocs on the middle rack for 20 minutes. If you’re going to use the cheddar cheese, place it on top of each croc for the last 5 minutes of baking.  If you’re not hungry yet, the crocs can go into the fridge instead, ready to be heated up whenever you like.

Yield: 4 servings