Cottage pie is the ultimate, hearty comfort meal. It’s a classic English dish with a savoury mince in a gravy sauce, doused in creamy potatoes and tasty cheese.
So, while I refer to the dish as a cottage pie, I always call it Shepherd’s pie. It’s the same dish that my mum cooked when I was a child, but she used lamb instead of beef mince. Therefore, it’s essentially the same dish but the cottage pie has beef mince and the shepherd’s pie has lamb mince. There you have it.
While cottage pie originates from England, it’s definitely become an international favourite all-year-round. Why? Well, it’s easy to make, very affordable, and includes everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard and fridge.
Furthermore, Cottage Pie is so easy to freeze. You can always double the mixture and cook two. One for tonight and another to freeze for later. We often cook 2 and keep slices in the freezer to take to work for lunch.
Cottage Pie is really easy to make once you know how to. While you may get frightened by all of the instructions, they’re essentially simple to follow. Basically, the cottage pie is made up of a savoury and saucy beef filling and a thick, creamy layer of mash topped with cheese.
You’ll get your dairy, protein and 3 vegetables all in one meal. and it’s good for you if you go easy on the fat content.
If you’d prefer a Shepherd’s Pie over a cottage pie, simply replace the beef mince with lamb mince. That’s basically the only difference.
While I like to keep my dish simple and light, others like to add a splash of red wine for a punchier flavour. And others like to add beef stock powder instead of chicken stock. It’s really up to personal taste.
Finally, if you are wanting to make a healthier cottage pie, here are a few tips:
Firstly, go easy on the salt. You don’t really need to add salt to add flavour. Especially when you can add some fresh herbs into the potato filling instead. You can also choose a low salt stock option and a low salt tomato paste option too.
Next, you can opt for a leaner mince to keep the fat content down. You can also choose a lower-fat cheese or use less cheese. And last but not least, you can use olive oil spray in a non-stick pan instead of a tablespoon of oil.
At the end of the day, you can swap anything that you want to in this simple dish. We often substitute frozen peas for fresh green beans for a healthier option or add some extra vegetables such as celery.
Many people choose to eat cottage pie on its own as a meal as it is packed with goodness on its own. But it is high in carbohydrates and has a large meat content, so you might want to balance it more.
A side option of mixed greens is enjoyable. You could also opt for some roasted honey carrots and asparagus.
Enjoy this beautiful, simple cottage pie on a cold winter’s night with a glass of red wine or on a hot summer night with a glass of white and a side of salad. Enjoy!! If you’d like to look at some other main meal recipes, click here.
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