cottage pie

Before I start there is one thing that I had to look up and that is what is the difference between “cottage pie” and “shepherd’s pie”?  It turns out that it is all about the meat. Shepherd’s pie should contain lamb, and cottage pie usually is made with beef. So this is a Cottage pie but could be turned to Shepherd’s pie by using lamb mince.

As in all of my cooking this recipe was born of necessity –

  • I am about to go away and aim to use all of the food in the house before then, so using the last of the sweet potatoes, a bag of frozen mince, celery, carrots and grated cheese got a few things crossed off the list
  • I am about to leave for a holiday where we will be doing some remote travel. I aim make enough of something to have a meal and leftovers to freeze and take away. A pre-made meal can be so handy when you have long days of travel or you just can’t face another “pub” meal or a BBQ (meat and salad or vegetables). We don’t like to cook smelly things in the motor-home so when the weather is bad what is better than comfort food in the truck with the heater on.
  • I was looking after the grand-kids that night and it is so much easier if the meal is prepared early

Well it turned out so good that point 2 wasn’t achieved – there were no leftovers (I should have made double) – and my son asked for the recipe so I had to make it again so I could remember what was in it.


  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped finely
  • 3 carrots – chopped finely
  • 1 tin lentils (omit if desired but doesn’t affect the flavour and makes it a bit healthier)
  • 1/2 tin corn kernels (totally optional – didn’t add them in the first batch but did in the 2nd)
  • beef stock – either 250 ml from a box or a stock cube and 250 ml water
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce (or paste)
  • 1/4 cup of yellow capsicum sauce (or add some chopped capsicum to the vegetable mix and a little bit of chili, this sauce is quite hot)
  • sprig thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • pepper to season


  • 3 sweet potatoes – sliced and steamed until tender, cooled and mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a hot pan add a couple of tablespoons of oil and the mince, cook until browned then set aside in a separate bowl
  2. Reheat the pan, add oil and then onions, celery and carrots, cook slowly until onions are translucent then add lentils, corn (optional), and the meat. Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato sauce/paste, capsicum sauce and beef stock and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add more liquid if necessary and check for seasoning.
  3. Add tapioca flour to thicken and place into baking dish.
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes with an egg and add in the Parmesan and cheddar cheeses.
  5. Spread the sweet potato mix over the meat mix. Rough up with a fork so it browns  nicely.
  6. Cook in a 180°C oven until the top is browned and the cheese melted.
  7. Leave for a short while before serving.