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The difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie is easy to understand, a shepherd’s pie contains lamb mince whereas cottage pie contains beef.

You are not limited to lamb and beef though, and any ground meat or meat substitute will do.  I regularly make cowboy pie by substituting the beef with ground buffalo meat, so whatever you use, just change the name accordingly!

You can spice this up by including both red wine and Worcestershire sauce, but neither are essential.

Serves 4 | Preparation: 30 minutes | Cooking: 30-45 minutes

  • 6 medium sized potatoes suitable for mashing
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or similar oil/butter substitute)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1lb beef mince (or similar meat or meat substitute)
  • 1 cooking onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup sweet garden peas
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Begin by preparing mashed potatoes.  Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Add them to a large saucepan, and cover with enough water that they can all be submerged about an inch below the surface.  You may salt the water if you like.  Bring the water to the boil, and then simmer at a low boil for 20-25 minutes.  Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 425f.

While the potatoes are boiling, take a large saucepan or wok, and brown and soften the onion over a medium heat.  When pale golden add the meat or meat substitute and brown thoroughly.  If you are including wine or Worcestershire sauce in your pie, add it to the meat now during the browning process so that it absorbs the flavour.  When the meat is browned, add the can of stewed tomatoes including their juices, and the tomato puree.  Peel and coarsely chop the carrots and add these and the peas to the pan.  Lower the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally.

When the potatoes are ready, mash them and set them to one side.  Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a large oven proof dish, and pour over the tomato and meat sauce.  Now take the mashed potatoes and make a layer over the sauce using a spoon and fork.  You should score the surface of the mash lightly with the fork to create a ridged effect.  Place the dish in the middle of the oven for between 30 and 45 minutes or until the peaks of the mash darken and go golden brown.

Serve hot, being careful to remove the bay leaves if included.