Rich Man's Shepherd's Pie (Cottage Pie)




About: I run a little company that rebuilds old homes. When we aren't up to our elbows in demolition dust, I'm obsessed with recycling, crafting and cooking.

In celebration of Pi day, and impending St.Patrick's Day, I whipped up a more fancy version of an old family favorite. My family always called it shepherd's pie, but my very Irish husband's family calls it cottage pie. Either way, this version is made with upgrades! My family loves it, especially the kids. I like to serve it with some fresh broccoli or a salad, and rolls. 


Step 1: Ingredients

all purpose flour, 8 Tablespoons
1 lb Stew Beef
2 Tbsp butter or oil
1/2 cup Beef broth
6 oz tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage (optional)
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
au gratin potatos in a box
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
button mushrooms, canned or fresh (optional), sliced

Use a nice sharp knife and chop your onion, garlic and carrots. Thinly slice your mushrooms, if you chose to add them. 

Step 2: Sizzle It

1. Melt 2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) butter into your frying pan. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until soft.  Add chopped carrots.

Step 3: Beef It Up

2. While your vegetables sauté, coat your stew beef lightly in flour. Add a few chunks at a time, give a light shake, remove from bag. Add the beef to the pan, and brown until no longer pink. Salt and pepper to your taste. 

Step 4: Simmer Down, Now

3. Add the worchestershire sauce, beef broth tomato paste and herbs. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until the gravy as cooked in to the beef as much as you like. Some people like it a little more moist, but I like it a little more dry. Add in the peas and simmer until they are heated through. 

4. While that simmers, prepare your au gratin potatos according to the stovetop directions, and heat your oven to 400 degress F.

Step 5: Layer Down

5. Add the stew like mixture to a baking dish. Make sure to remove the bay leaves and throw them away.

6. Layer the au gratin potatoes over the beef mixture, and pour any cheese sauce in the pan over the top.

Sprinkle extra cheese on top if you want. No one is looking, go ahead. I won't tell. 

Step 6: Totally Baked

7. Cook at 400 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pie is bubbly.

Serves approx. 6 people.  Or 4 very big eaters, or perhaps 8 reasonable eaters who also like salad. 

This recipe is great for making ahead and freezing, will last up to 2 months in the freezer. If freezing, do not add the potatoes until ready to serve. Potatoes can get grainy in the freezer. For once a month cooking, just make a big batch of stew and before you add the potatoes, set some aside in a freezer safe baking dish, cool and freeze!

Pi Day Pie Challenge

Finalist in the
Pi Day Pie Challenge



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest

    12 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 6

    This looks so delicious, I'm just about drooling! My hubby's from England & this recipe will definitely be a new favorite for him.

    Thank you for sharing,



    7 years ago on Introduction

    The picture in step 5 looks sooo good. Thank you for sharing, and good luck in the contest!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I really like the idea of augratin potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, that's 2 for 2 going in my favs file .....


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What size casserole pan should be used?
    Pan size inversely relates to thickness of topping and meat mixture.

    1 reply

    Indeed you are correct Sheppard's pie is Lamb while Cottage pie is Beef. Though apart from that they are the same. Also it's nice to see a twist on a good old family favorite. Well done, I think it's time for me to fire up the oven now.

    mmmm...lamb...beef...i am not prejudice...lamb is really good. i wanna try that in this dish. although, when i was in highschool, they called it "shepard's" pie even though it was clearly seasoned ground beef...not lamb.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Alas, your father was correct. Carrots are a very rich source of vitamin A, which in turn plays a large roll in good eyesight. Load up with those carrots.