This Cottage Pie is a northern New York girl’s comfort food version of Shepherd’s Pie. It is made with ground beef, gravy, vegetables, and homemade mashed potatoes topping. Then, it is finished off with a sprinkling of cheese on top. For my Keto peeps, be sure to check out the substitutions to make low carb so you too can enjoy this comfort food recipe.

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Cottage Pie makes a great weekend dinner recipe. While it can be enjoyed on a weekday, if you work outside of the home, it is easier to prepare this on the weekend. It is comfort food in a casserole dish that will make you feel all warm and cozy. Not to mention your tummy will be very satisfied!

Overhead shot of cottage pie casserole dish out of the oven

Why I made this recipe

Did you know that as a child I was not a fan of mashed potatoes? Now that I am all grown up, I do think they are delicious, but that lingering attitude of thinking I didn’t like them kind of carries over. And as a result, I just don’t make them that often.

Grumpy on the other hand is a steak and mashed potato fanatic. He would eat the same thing every single day if I was willing to do so. Unfortunately for him, he married someone who likes to experiment and try new things. So, when I do make something like this Cottage Pie, it is a real treat for him.

The difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie

What I did not know when looking to make this recipe, was that there is a difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie. Grumpy was asking for Shepherd’s pie, but when I researched the recipe, I found that Shepherd’s pie was made with ground lamb meat and Cottage Pie with ground beef.

I am not a huge fan of lamb. I have never cooked it myself. My mom would make lamb chops when I was a child and I absolutely did not like them so I never would make it myself. And, when Grumpy was asking for Shepherd’s Pie, I don’t think he realized it was really Cottage Pie he wanted!

Cottage Pie serving on a plate

Which came first? A little bit of Cottage Pie history

I was surprised to find out that Cottage Pie was in existence before Shepherd’s pie. And, Cottage Pie was a meal that was made with leftover roasted meat. It was deemed cottage pie in the 1700’s as an affordable meal for peasants.

The term Shepherd’s Pie showed up in the 1800’s and still implied minced meat. Then, in the 2oth century it was declared to be a dish made with lamb by the British. This interesting fact I was not aware of, and I always thought Shepherd’s Pie was original, whereas, it is completely the opposite!

Make this Cottage Pie Keto Low Carb

This recipe can easily be adapted to the Keto lifestyle. Just remove the flour and water thickener in step 4 and instead sprinkle 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum over top of the hot mixture, being sure to stir it well as it is sprinkled. Then, instead of potatoes, use the Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe to top off the meat and gravy portion. If you wish, swap out the peas for green beans (however I would just leave them in).

Variations to this recipe

Its is very ok to change this Cottage Pie recipe to your own liking! There is no rule or law says that you ever have to follow anything to a T! Below are some suggestions you may find interesting.

  • Substitute mashed sweet potatoes for the white potato topping.
  • Use your favorite protein. I have made this with ground venison, turkey, and beef.
  • Stir the cheese into the mashed potatoes instead of topping them with it.
  • Use your favorite blend of vegetables. I love the frozen mix that includes corn and asparagus!

What you need to make Cottage Pie

Ground beef: Ground and crumbled, it all will work. As I indicated above, beef, venison, turkey, pork, whatever your tastebuds want, it will work just fine.

Mixed Vegetables: The most common is carrots, peas, and corn. Feel free to use the vegetables that appeal to you the most.

Beef Bone Broth: This is my favorite brand of bone broth.

Potatoes or Cauliflower: Depending on whether you are making a low carb or regular version. Use the cauliflower if you want low carb.

Glass Casserole Dish: This is my favorite 9×13 casserole pan.

Other Comfort Food Recipes you may enjoy

Cottage Pie isn’t the only comfort food recipe we enjoy in this house and I would like to share with you some of our very favorites.

*If you made this Cottage Pie recipe, please give it a star rating*

Yield: 6 servings

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

A comfort food casserole dish of ground meat and gravy with a cheesy potato topping.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen carrot and pea mixture
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups beef bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)
  • 1 recipe Homemade Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook the ground beef with the onion and garlic for 7 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Stir in the beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour and water until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the beef stock mixture. Return heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until meat mixture has thickened. Add salt and pepper (if using).
  5. Spread the meat mixture in a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and spread over the meat mixture to cover completely. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese and potatotes have lightly browned.