Traditional Cottage Pie

This is the best Cottage Pie ever... cosy, warming and tasty. Weirdly, I actually find this dish slightly reminiscent of long gone school days (strange because I definitely don't remember eating food this good at primary school!!). As long as you use very lean prime beef mince, this recipe is pretty low in fat; featuring no cheese, no butter and only a very little bit of Olive Oil; which means this delicious recipe is as low in cholesterol as it is comforting and enjoyable to eat.


  • Lean Beef Mince (350 – 500g)
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 2 Carrots
  • 10 Small Mushrooms
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • Tomato Puree
  • Beef Stock (cube is fine)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaves
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • English Mustard
  • 1 bottle Beer
  • Potatoes (4-6?)
  • Salt & Pepper

First – boil the Potatoes. Use as many as you think you need to top the amount of Mince you have (proportionately, I’d go for one slightly more Mince than Potato – but your call, it will taste delicious either way.  Good to remember you can make the Mince stretch further if you use more Potato topping!)

When the Potatoes have boiled – mash them adding just some Salt & Pepper and a spoonful or two of English Mustard.  Check for seasoning and set aside

To make the Mince… Finely chop the Onions, Carrots and Mushrooms.  Fry them gently with some Olive Oil and a tiny bit of Salt in a saucepan for 10 – 15 minutes or until they are soft and sweet.  Add the chopped Garlic and the Beef and some Salt and Pepper – stirring to make sure the Beef browns all over

When the Beef is brown – add a squeeze of Tomato Puree, 2 Bay Leaves, a spring of Rosemary, some fresh Thyme, a spoon of Mustard and a couple of really big dashes of Worcestershire Sauce.  Now, carefully stir in 2 dessert spoons of Plain Flour – make sure this all gets soaked up and stirred in.  Add some stock – either a mug of quite Beef Stock – or half an OXO cube (whatever you have!).  Add the bottle of Lager – bring to the boil, cover with a lid, and then gently simmer for an hour or so

During the hour’s cooking time – do stir it, otherwise the flour in the sauce might make it stick (aka burn) on the bottom of the pan.  Also add a dash or two of water if it looks too dry

When you are ready to make the pie, your Mince should be thick, creamy and unctuous (almost!!).  Taste to check – but you could add Worcester Sauce, Mustard, Salt or Pepper extra fresh Thyme – whatever you think it needs (if anything)

Spoon the Mince into the bottom of a baking dish and cover with Mashed Potato

Bake at 200˚c for 40 mins, or until golden, crunchy and bubbling

Is perfect served with some steamed broccoli, beans and peas – or some steamed green cabbage.  Also a massive dollop of English Mustard!

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