Easy Irish Cottage Pie Filling with Pastry
This traditional Irish Cottage Pie Filling recipe is an easy and tasty comfort food meal everyone loves. This family favorite is made with ground beef (mince) and vegetables baked in a delicious gravy filling topped with pastry and baked until perfectly golden brown.
And did I mention that this hearty recipe is customizable to your family? Love shepherd’s pie? Swap the beef for lamb and top with mashed potatoes for a delicious variation on this classic formula. Or to make a Classic Cottage Pie, swap the pastry for the potatoes.
What is the Difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?
The difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie is a variation of ingredients and geography.
Shepherd’s Pie is generally made with lamb and is widely known as an Irish dish. In fact, Irish Pubs all over Ireland serve this delicious, loved dish.
Cottage Pie, on the other hand, is most often made with beef. It’s also known to be an English dish.
Both traditional versions are topped with mashed potatoes, but I’ve gone for something different which I think takes this Irish Cottage Pie Filling to the next level!
So… why is this recipe called Irish Cottage Pie?
That’s a great question!
The reason is that this dish is inspired by a recipe I found at The Irish Times newspaper. Their version contains “stewing steak” as they call it. I wanted to add some savory ingredients, additional vegetables and make it quicker by using ground beef.
With this title, Irish Cottage Pie, I’m taking some creative liberty and wanting to give credit to the original source too! Regardless, my family loves the end product and I’m sure your family will too!
Meat: 1 pound of ground beef, I like to use lean.
Vegetables: onions, carrots, and one package of sliced mushrooms.
Pantry staples: flour, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, thyme leaves (fresh or dried)
Other Ingredients: 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry and an egg for a pastry wash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Simply spread prepared mashed potato over the top of the baking dish, and fluff the top up with a fork so you get plenty of nice crispy bits on top!
You can use a 2.5 to 3 quart pan (9” x 13”). I used an oval baking dish in the photos that is about a 2.5 quarts. However, anything that is close to that size should work – if the pastry does not quite fit, you can always roll it out a little thinner.
A few more recipes you might enjoy:
- Old Fashioned Irish Lamb Stew with Root Vegetables
- Easy Traditional Irish Colcannon Recipe with Green Cabbage
- Baked Salmon with Easy Dill Cream Sauce
- Irish Skillet Apple Cake
- Irish Shortbread Cookies with Currants
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Easy Irish Cottage Pie Filling
This Irish Cottage Pie Filling recipe is an easy and tasty comfort food meal everyone loves. This family favorite is made with ground beef (mince) and vegetables baked in a delicious gravy filling topped with pastry and baked until perfectly golden brown.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups finely chopped onion
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and thaw one sheet of puff pastry.
- Place the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and carrots; saute just until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and mushrooms; cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continue cooking for another minute, stirring constantly. Then add the tomato paste, stock, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, pepper, and thyme; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
- Meanwhile, roll out the thawed puff pastry until it fits the size of your baking dish. I like to trace my baking dish on the sheet of puff pastry so that it fits perfectly cutting it out using a sharp knife or pastry cutter.
- When the beef filling is cooked, transfer it to the baking dish. Top with the puff pastry, making sure it that it comes to the edges. The pastry will shrink slightly when baked. Whisk the egg slightly and brush over the pastry.
- Place the cottage pie on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before serving.
If you'd like to make this recipe more traditional by topping with mashed potato, spread it over the meat filling and rough the top up with a fork to make sure you get plenty of nice crispy bits on top!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 272mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 25g
Odd that all of my life as an Irish person, I was told that Shepherd’s Pie was British and Cottage Pie is Irish. In any case, I plan on making both. do you think they will turn out OK if I make small (individual) pies in 6 inch round, 1 1/2 inch deep clay casserole dishes? Thanks for any info you can provide.
Hi Kelly– I think they’ll turn out awesome! Just keep an eye on the baking time because it will be shorter. Love your idea :)!
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this today and my husband and I were very happy eating the delicious results! It is a pretty easy recipe to put together and I prepared it exactly as written. Next time I might try adding a bit of diced rutabaga (aka turnip) and some diced potato for colour and flavour. First time using puff pastry and we loved it on this dish. It made a very nice presentation.
Hi Missy! This makes me so happy. I’m so glad your family loves it! I tried to stay as true to the original recipe as possible, but I absolutely love the idea of adding rutabaga and potato. It would be so delicious! Thank you for trying it and letting me know your thoughts.
I made this for St Patricks day and it was amazing! Will add it to our meal rotation! Perfect comfort food for a rainy day too!
Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you liked it! My family is always very happy when it shows up on our table too. And I agree, it’s perfect for rainy days — which we have plenty of in Seattle :)!
What size baking dish?
Hi Nicole. You can use a 2.5 to 3 quart pan (9” x 13”). I used an oval baking dish in the photos that is about a 2.5 quarts.