Recipe: Cottage Pie vs. Shepherd’s Pie

I’m constantly on the lookout for really easy meals that are still nourishing. It’s an added bonus if it can all be piled into one pan and stuck in the oven. Insert cottage/shepherd’s pie. Talk about a happy woman!

Now, before we get too far, I want to point out that while I was looking for the best shepherd’s pie recipe, I discovered that there is a difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie. Unbeknownst tome, I had been calling my dish by the wrong name! Blasphemy, I tell ya’!

What is the difference you might ask? Well cottage pie is made with beef and shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. I also must add that cheese is NOT in either recipe. Cheese is what Americans add to any and every dish. I found some pretty hysterical comments regarding this as I searched the web for more information. However, I will spare you, and suffice it to say, we will be eating cottage pie around here since beef is cheaper than lamb. We also won’t be using the cheese because quite frankly, it’s better without it.


  • 1 lb ground beef – grass fed, no hormones or antibiotics
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups total of any veggy mixture – our favorite are green beans, carrots, celery – can be frozen or fresh and should be cut in bite sized pieces
  • 1-2 lbs of potatoes
  • Chicken or beef broth
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • 1 T corn flour
  • Raw milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 T coconut oil/butter
  • parsley, oregano, basil

To Make:

1. Peel potatoes, and depending on the size, cut into halves or quarters. Boil the potatoes on the stove. I use a large stock pot and just cover the potatoes in water. Be sure that the pot is covered while boiling  and resist checking frequently. Boil until they fall apart when poked with a fork. Takes about 20 minutes. I usually check mine at about the 10 minute mark. The next time I check I want them to be done. This just keeps the moisture in the pot and keeps the potatoes from drying out.

2. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil (or butter) in skillet. Once melted, saute the onions, garlic, and carrots. I cooked until carrots were just starting to soften.

3. Then, cook meat until no red is left. Drain. Mix in a little chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree. Use as much as your family likes. I used about 16 ounces of tomato puree and about a cup or so of diced tomatoes.  Add the flour and oregano, basil, salt & pepper. This is where you use your own creativity. Add whatever spices you want to the dish! Stir it all together, then cover the pan and let it simmer while everything else finishes. You want it to be about 10-15 minutes.

4. Steam other veggies in a pot according to package directions or until just softened. Keep them covered to keep warm.

5. By now, your potatoes should be soft enough to break when poked with a fork. Remove the potatoes from stock pot and place in a large mixing bowl. IMMEDIATELY cream the potatoes! Don’t let them sit. This is the secret to fluffy potatoes. Add raw milk, salt and pepper, and more butter if you would like. Cream the potatoes to your favorite consistency. Once creamed, use a spoon to stir in parsley.

6. Turn on your broiler. My Mamaw told me that you should leave your oven door slightly open when using the broiler since it gets so hot. I always do that because I figured she knows what she’s talking about! So leave your oven slightly open as you heat up the broiler (and while your cooking the dish, of course)

7.  Now, you’re ready to put the meal together. Just throw it all into a casserole dish big enough to hold the contents. Save the mashed potatoes for last. At this point it’s safe to taste the meal to see if you want to add any other seasonings. Once the beef and veggies are added, spread the mashed potatoes over top.

8. Place in broiler and allow the potatoes to get crispy. We let it broil until it just turns brown a bit. we don’t like ours too crispy.

That’s cottage pie friends! It’s so very yummy!!! It’s also a great dish to play with and experiment. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients that are on my list. Use what you have on hand, and I guarantee it will still taste wonderful!!!

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