Classic cottage pie

Preparation time
Less than 30 mins

Cooking time
Over 2 hours

Serves 2 – 3

James Martin goes back to basics with a traditional homemade cottage pie. Perfect comfort food for a winter evening.

James Martin recipes
from Saturday Kitchen


For the mince
  • 50ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • 650g/1lb 7oz minced beef
  • 3-4 banana shallots or 7-8 small round shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150ml/5fl oz red wine
  • 400ml/14fl oz beef stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
For the mash
  • 900g/2lb King Edward potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 125ml/4½fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
  • 150g/5½oz frozen peas
  • 50g/1¾oz butter

Preparation method

  1. Heat a large frying pan until smoking, add half of the olive oil and fry the minced beef, in batches, for 4-5 minutes, or until browned all over.
  2. Heat a separate pan over a gentle heat, add the remaining olive oil and fry the shallots and thyme for 2-3 minutes, or until just softened. Stir in the tomato purée and flour and cook for a further minute, then add the cooked beef.
  3. Deglaze the frying pan used to cook the beef with the red wine, scrapingup any caramelised bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half, then pour the wine into the pan with the beef.
  4. Place the mince mixture into a baking dish and pipe the mash over the top. Place under the grill for 8-10 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Serve spooned onto serving plates.
  5. Place the peas in water in a small saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes, drain and add the butter.
  6. To serve, serve a spoonful of the cottage pie on plates with the peas alongside.