Cottage Pie

Tonight I am well stuffed (in the culinary sense)… I baked a wartime ‘cottage pie’ and fear that an actual cottage could have been the main ingredient as I am so full! This was one-hell-of-a-satisfying-meal on a cold winter night! I must make this more often…

One of the most satisfying things about the meal was the comments that flew my way as it was being gobbled down

Youngest hobbit…” Yum- this tastes good! There is no bits of starch in it like last time…”

Eldest hobbit …. ” Jeremy (boyfriend) wants to hire you as a cook”..

Eldest hobbits boyfriend.… ” Every meal I have tasted here has tasted so good..”

Middle hobbit …” Ewww- what’s that????” (this is not surprising as he is a vegetarian who doesn’t like vegetables)

Eldest hobbit….(who is also vegetarian but who I prepared a separate topping for)… ” ………just silence….”  (trust me this is good!)

Try this fabby, tasty, tummy filling, stick to your ribs meal- it is worth the effort!

Cottage Pie

  • 1 lb mince beef ( note a weeks ration of mince beef for one person was about 1/2 lb )
  • several large potatoes
  • 2 oz cheese
  • dried herbs (Rosemary & Thyme work well)
  • salt and pepper
  • beef stock like bovril ( 1 pint or more)
  • bisto gravy powder
  • peas and finely chopped carrots and onion optional
  • blob butter or margarine


  1. Brown the mince
  2. Add the chopped veggies (optional)
  3. Add salt and pepper and herbs
  4. Add beef stock, stir and simmer for 15 minutes (thickening towards the end by mixing bisto powder with a little cold water to a runny paste and adding to beef stirring all the time- beef sauce should be quite thick!)
  5. Meanwhile chop up all the potatoes into small chunks
  6. Place in salted hot water and bring to the boil until tender and drain.
  7. Mash with generous blobs of butter or margarine, add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Finally add milk so mash is spreadable
  9. Place beef sauce in a small cooking tray with deep sides or shallow casserole dish
  10. Pipe or spread mashed potato on top
  11. Sprinkle with 2 oz of grated strong cheddar and some dried herbs if you like
  12. Place in oven for 20 minutes at 200 c
  13. Finish off under broiler/grill to brown top

Serve with steamed fresh veggies!

Serves 4 with veggies

“This post is part of Twinkl’s VE Day Campaign, and is featured in their Best Wartime Recipes to Celebrate VE Day from Home post”

18 thoughts on “Cottage Pie

    • Hey Pat- did you get this cooked? I was thinking of doing this again tomorrow but I don’t have enough potatoes in the house- darn!!!!! C xx


    • Yes I think Cottage Pie and Sheperd’s Pie are the same thing- truly delicious. I don’t think you can beat something like this on a cold winter’s night!!! 🙂

      C xx


      • Sorry I’m a bit late to the party, but take it from a Brit, cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are different. One uses beef mince and one uses lamb. Easy to remember, just think of shepherds and sheep.


      • My Dad was a Cook/Chef in the Royal Airforce stationed in Canada during the 2nd world war, he taught us that a Cottage pie is made with beef and a shepherds pie with lamb, he also taught me how to make it, my family love both and I am eternally grateful for that.
        I have tried to pass the recipe on but I am retired in Florida now and every thing is fast food from the takeaway or salads and I am afraid that his recipe will be lost forever, so sad. Elaine originally from England.


      • Yes, definitely beef for cottage pie and lamb for shepherd’s pie – and my husband does his own version which we call his “Piggery Pie” as he uses pork mince !


  1. Neither Shepherds nor cottage pie should include sugar – is just is not done in England – I think this is an American idea as you appear to have a sweeter tooth than us – not a criticism just a difference. It is also more common to make the potato mash with butter or margarine rather than with cheese. The cheese would make it more luxurious and would be called a cheesy mash. In any event love the blog


  2. Hi Linda I’m British and thanks for spotting that teaspoon of sugar- it wasn’t used in the recipe so that was my fault for listing it in the ingredients!!! LOL! Also I always use margarine or butter to make mash (see method) and this recipe was from a British wartime cook book and it called for a sprinkling of cheese over the top 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading xxxx


  3. Pingback: Rationing Day 1 -

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