m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef instead of ground lamb. Since no actual pie is involved, it’s a pretty forgiving recipe that can take a lot of variation in ingredients, quantities, and methodology. The current version is pretty mild, and in the future I plan to add more spices. Also I’d recommend more tomato sauce when baking it cooked, or baking from raw.



  • 3 large russet potatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T. olive oil (in addition to oil for frying)


  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • up to 1 ½ c. peas or pea/carrot/corn mix
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 T. tomato sauce, or 1 chopped tomato, or 2 T. tomato sauce plus 2 T. tomato paste
  • ¼ c. matzah meal, breadcrumbs, or other thickener (optional)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp mustard powder (or 2 T prepared mustard)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika


  1. Chop and boil potatoes until soft.
  2. Fry both onions in oil. Add all garlic.
  3. Reserve half of the onion mixture for the crust. (If skipping the next step, let both halves cool slightly.)
  4. Optionally, brown the ground beef in the same pan with the dry spices.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Mix all filling ingredients.
  7. Flatten filling into a covered skillet, pie plate, or casserole dish of appropriate size (up to 9"x13", but a 9" or 10" round dish should also do).
  8. Drain and mash potatoes.
  9. Mix all crust ingredients. Spread evenly over filling.
  10. Cover and cook 15 minutes (30 minutes if the meat is still raw).
  11. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.


It’s pretty common to add celery and carrots to the filling. Another option is frozen corn. (Reduce peas in either case.)

You can also add beer in place of the tomato sauce.