Cody’s Cottage Pie

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Cottage Pie

While I can appreciate tradition, and keeping a recipe authentic, I also like being inventive with food. So this cottage pie is not a 100% traditional English style cottage pie, but rather my take on it. That being said, it’s still quite similar to the original, with just a slight change in ingredients.

Like all cottage pie, this still retains the mashed potato topping which tastes delicious when it gets a bit blackened under the broiler. I used a pastry cream piping tool to make little peaks in the potato, but you can of course just spread them with a spoon, totally up to you. Using potato as a topping is the opposite of using potato as the crust like in my Potato Pie With Chicken And Mushroom!

I love making cottage pie with caramelized carrots. For this I leave the carrots in quite large chunks. This helps them get a nice browning on the outside, and sweeten the flesh.

Cottage Pie vegetables in the pan

After the carrots have caramelized, I then add the onion and bell pepper and allow them to cook for a bit. I don’t want to caramelize the onions in this recipe, but I do want them a bit translucent before the meat goes in. After the veggies are done, I take them out of the pan and put in a side bowl. I put in chopped bacon and allow to render. Bacon fat is going to be our primary liquid in this cottage pie, as opposed to red wine in a traditional one.

Because bacon fat is the main liquid, I made sure to get some really fatty bacon. This is not difficult at all since I live in Ukraine and one of the national dishes is just marinated pig fat. I like to spread it on toast for a nice lunch snack. Buying any pork product is extremely cheap.

Fatty Bacon

After rendering the bacon down, I add the ground beef. I brown that a bit then re-introduce the cooked vegetables to the pan. Here I add a couple tablespoons of water and a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and let everything simmer for a few minutes.

For this recipe I used 3 large potatoes. These were boiled, mixed with an unhealthy amount of butter, and mashed. Normally you could just spoon the mash over the meat and veggies, but if you want to get fancy I suggest using a pastry piping tool!

Cottage Pie base in an Emile Henry roasting dish

I am using my Emile Henry roasting dish which is 14.2″ x 9.1″. This was the perfect size to use all the ingredients. I’m a big fan of Emile Henry and actually prefer them over Le Creuset due to the price point. This isn’t a paid ad for the brand, I just really like their stuff.

cottage pie potato first layer

The first layer of mashed potatoes was just spread on with a spoon. I wanted a nice even layer before I started piping on the patterned peaks.

As you can tell by the ’emoji’ looking swirls…I’m not a professional pastry chef.

After a half hour at 350 Fahrenheit or 175 Celsius Cody’s Cottage Pie is finished. As you can see some internal liquid bubbled up around the edges of the potatoes, but the inside of the cottage pie will be perfectly juicy and delicious. No need to add flour like some recipes call for.

Cody's Cottage Pie

Cody’s Cottage Pie

My recipe for cottage pie. A slight twist of the English classic, but delicious nonetheless.
Course Main Course, Paste
Cuisine British, English
Keyword Cottage Pie, English Food, Mashed Potatoes, Shepards Pie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost $5

Equipment

  • Baking Dish

Ingredients

  • 3 large Potatoes peeled
  • 500 grams Beef ground
  • 8 rashers Bacon fatty slices
  • 1 large Carrot quartered and sliced thick
  • 1 Yellow Onion chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper chopped
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 100 grams Butter
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked, more to taste
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes optional
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano

Instructions

  • Quarter the potatoes and then bring to a boil in a pot of water. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, then drain, add butter, salt to taste, and mash. The potatoes can be done way beforehand or you can use leftover mashed potatoes from another dish.
  • In a skillet on medium heat add a bit of olive oil then toss in the carrots. Don't shake the pan too much, you want the carrots to caramelize on the outside. When you notice them starting to brown/blacken, add the onions and bell pepper and toss the pan around. When the onions get translucent tip the pan into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Chop the rashers of bacon into large pieces and put in the pan still on medium heat. Let the bacon render its fat. When the bacon starts to cook you can then add the ground beef along with the pepper, salt, chili flakes, garlic powder, and paprika.
  • As soon as the beef gets browned, add the tomato paste and 2 tbsp of water. Sir everything up and then re-introduce the vegetables back to the skillet. Give everything a good toss to combine and let simmer for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Tip the pan into a roasting dish and use the back of a spoon to smooth everything out. Cover with a layer of mashed potatoes, and then use a piping bag/tool to make a pretty pattern on the top.
  • Put into an oven preheated to 175 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. When done, you can serve right away.

Notes

If the potatoes are not getting browned on the tips, try moving the roasting pan closer to the top of the oven, or make your broiler a bit stronger for the last 3-5 minutes. You can even use a brulee torch at the end to really brown those mashed potatoes.
If you use lamb instead of beef you’re essentially making a shepard’s pie, so feel free to substitute meat to your preference. 

Cottage Pie Bonus Images

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