Testing Vintage Recipes in the Modern Kitchen

Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

A hand written note card with recipe.

I was turned off by the name of this dish for so many years. When I finally wised up and learned it is literally covered in mashed potatoes, I fell in love.

I typically throw in whatever fresh or frozen veggies are laying around in the freezer, and sometimes use leftover mashed potatoes. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually followed a Shepherd’s Pie recipe. But grandma came through. And has melted cheese!

No lambs were harmed in the making of this meal. At the risk of ruining another of DeeDee’s recipes with semantics (remember when we learned about Irish Soda Bread?) her Shepherd’s Pie recipe is actually Cottage Pie: it uses beef.

Yes, this is another hearty beef-and-potatoes recipe, but pretend it’s cold out in the country and you have lots of mouths to feed and just go with it.

There are only a handful of her recipes that are handwritten, and it always makes me smile. That lovely script is almost enough to make you wish you, too, had nuns rapping your knuckles in school.

The recipe uses frozen mashed potatoes which I did not know existed. I had the time and potatoes, so decided to whip my own before starting the rest. If you don’t feel like making them from scratch, this recipe will be a total breeze.

A wire whisk with whipped mashed potatoes over a bowl.

Prepare your taters and set aside.

Meat and vegetables are browned in a skillet.

Brown your beef with onions and carrots so they soften.

Meat and vegetables with flour in a pan.

Season and add flour. Stir it all up.

Beef broth is poured over a skillet of meat.

Stir in a cup of beef broth and let the whole thing simmer
and thicken for a few minutes.

A quiche dish with meat and veggies inside.

Grandma’s recipe bakes in an 11×7 dish, but I’ve found
a 9×9 or round quiche dish works well, too.

A brown dish covered in mashed potatoes.

Plop and smear on the mashed potatoes. It’s satisfying.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, adding shredded cheddar
on in the last 5 or so. I hit it quickly with the broiler, too.

A slice of meat and potato pie beside a blue towel.

Pairs perfectly with pretending you live a quaint life
among the sheep of Ireland.


Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

1 22-oz. pkg frozen mashed potatoes (or fresh/leftover homemade)
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion chopped
1/2 c. sliced carrots (or roughly 2 carrots)
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. beef broth
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 c. (or 2-4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook frozen potatoes according to directions, or make from scratch. Set aside.

Cook beef, onion, and carrot in large skillet until browned and tender. Drain off grease.

Add flour, salt, and a pinch or two of pepper. Stir to coat.

Add beef broth, stir, and let simmer 3-5 minutes.

Pour mix into 9×9 pan, 9″ quiche dish, or 11×7 dish.

Mix beaten egg into the mashed potatoes. Pour potatoes over beef mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 more minutes. Quickly broil to brown further, if needed.

Let sit a few minutes before serving.

1 thought on “Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *