Cottage Pie (Beef Shepherd’s Pie)
I had a hard time naming this Cottage Pie because I think a lot of Americans will more likely know it as Shepherd’s Pie. However, technically when made with beef it is a Cottage Pie, while Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. I think in America we generally use the term Shepherd’s Pie to mean either, so I was walking the line between not wanting to offend any Brits nor confuse any of my fellow Americans. Hopefully we’re all on the same page because regardless of what you call it, this dish is a quintessential comfort food. The bottom layer is hearty ground beef and vegetables in a savory brown gravy and it’s topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and cheese. It’s super filling and satisfying and perfect to warm you up on a cold winter day.
Cottage Pie is pretty simple and straightforward to make, but it does a bit of time, so it’s great as a weekend dinner or a Sunday supper to leave leftovers for the next few days. If you’re a good multitasker, you can definitely cook the meat and potatoes at the same time to make things more efficient. I really think this is a meal the whole family will love and it’s only 358 calories or 9 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving!
Mr. Bites (my husband) and I just returned from a trip to London and I really wanted to make a traditional English dish as an homage to our time there. I’ve been wanting to make Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie for the blog for a while now so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. We had an amazing time overseas and I hope this recipe is a fitting tribute!
Looking for more lightened up comfort food casserole recipes? Check out my One Pot Cincinnati Chili Bake, Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Potato Bake, Layered Chicken Enchilada Bake, Chili Cornbread Bake, Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Casserole, Beef Enchilada Quinoa Bake, Bubble Up Chicken Pot Pie Casserole, Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole, Bubble Up Pizza Casserole, Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake and many more in the casserole section of my recipe index!
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 lbs uncooked 95% lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste, divided
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 ½ lbs peeled and chopped potatoes
- 2 tablespoons light butter (I used Land O’Lakes)
- ½ cup skim milk
- 4 oz 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar, shredded (I used Cabot)
*You may want to do steps one and two concurrently to save time
- Place the ground beef in a large walled skillet or saute pan and bring over medium-high heat. Cook, breaking the meat up into small pieces until browned. When the meat is cooked through, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and carrots. Stir to combine and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the peas and stir together. Cook for another minute and then add the garlic, flour and tomato paste. Stir to combine and cook for a minute until the flour is blended. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves and stir together. Bring to a simmer (this happened quickly for me) and reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is coating the meat and vegetables. Remove the bay leaves and transfer the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Spread evenly and set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chopped potatoes at the bottom of a large pot and cover them in salted cold water. Place the pot on the stove, covered, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, cook the potatoes for about 5 minutes and then drain the water. Spread the potatoes out on a clean, dry surface for about 5 minutes to allow the steam to escape. Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl and mash them until smooth. Add the butter, milk and about ¾ of the cheese and stir/mash until well combined. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mashed potatoes to the casserole dish, spreading them in an even layer over top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the casserole is cooked through and the mashed potato peaks start to turn golden.
Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
9 per (1/8 of the pan) serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per (1/8 of the pan) serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per (1/8 of the pan) serving:
358 calories, 35 g carbs, 5 g sugars, 10 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 33 g protein, 4 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
Adapted from BBC Good Food