Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just want a deliciously easy casserole dish, this Irish Cottage Pie made with ground beef and cheesy mashed potatoes will be a definite crowd pleaser.
Every year around this time, I see recipes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and one of the most common, besides corned beef that is, Shepherd’s Pie. However, we don’t eat lamb so I never tried making it myself until recently.
That is when I realized that what they call Cottage Pie was the same thing, but you use beef instead of lamb. YAY for us…and YOU because this Cottage Pie was delicious!
How did Cottage Pie get its name?
The recipe for Cottage Pie has been around since the late 1700’s and was first created by utilizing leftover beef from the Sunday roast and the new edible crop at that time, potatoes.
This casserole got its name from the poor farmers who lived in cottages or modest rural dwellings. Because Cottage (or Shepherd’s) Pie is simple to make and utilizes leftovers from other meals, it helped stretch the food budget by creating a new meal out of leftovers.
Because I didn’t have any leftovers, I’ll share how to make it fresh, from scratch.
How do you make Cottage Pie?
To begin, brown some ground beef in a large skillet; then add onions, garlic, carrots, celery. Next, add tomato paste, red wine, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, fresh thyme and bay leaves and simmer until most of the liquid has dissolved.
If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes already, prepare them while the meat is simmering. Add the meat mixture to a casserole dish; then top with the potatoes. These were made with Yukon gold potatoes to give it a nice warm yellow color; along with butter, milk, nutmeg and some cheddar cheese.
Once the meat is covered, pop it into the oven and let it bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Now the best part about this recipe, besides being able to use up your leftovers, is that you can make this the night before; then just pop it into the oven to heat up for a quick weeknight meal.
The plated version of this Cottage Pie isn’t very pretty, but I wanted you to see how it looks when it’s done. My family LOVED this recipe for Cottage Pie and it was the perfect meal to help warm us up; especially during all of these frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing!
This casserole made enough to feed about 8 people so since we’re down to 3, I allowed the casserole to chill overnight. I then cut it into squares and froze them into individual portions for a later date.
This will certainly come in handy since I have to have foot surgery in the next few weeks and won’t be able to do much cooking! ~Enjoy!
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For the Cottage Pie
For the Mashed Potatoes
- 3 pounds peeled and diced yukon gold potatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ;divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Irish Cottage Pie
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until no longer pink; then add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Allow the vegetables to soften for 2-3 minutes; then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and allow to cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed; approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the thyme and bay leaves and place the meat mixture in an oven safe casserole dish (I used 13x9); then top with prepared mashed potatoes.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
For the Mashed Potatoes
- Add the potatoes to a large pot and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook until the potatoes have softened; approximately 20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, put them back in the pot and add the milk, butter, cheese and nutmeg. Mash with an electric mixer to get a creamy mashed potato or a hand masher for a chunkier version.
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