This is my version of a simple recipe for a good, comforting British classic: pork mince cottage pie. British food is about comfort, rich taste, and good quality ingredients. And that's exactly what this family bake is about!
This great family-style pie is just perfect on a cold winter day! It is also a wonderful store cupboard (pantry) recipe.
What makes a good cottage pie?
Cottage pie is a dish that consists of meaty sauce, ragu, which is topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.
The meaty sauce is traditionally made of minced beef, but I am using pork mince in this recipe. A combination of both will work here too. Ps. Minced lamb is used in a very similar dish called Shepherd's pie.
The ragu is enriched by onions, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, stock and a touch of Worcester sauce - save some for serving too!
The main components of the sauce for this pork mince cottage pie are:
- minced pork meat (ground pork)
- chopped tomatoes
- garden peas
- pork stock
- thyme and rosemary
- Worcester sauce
The pork mince ragu is typically topped with creamy mashed potato.
In this recipe, peeled and cooked potatoes are mashed together with unsalted butter and semi-skimmed milk.
The best potato varieties for mashing are the ones with more starch, such as Maris Piper or King Edward (for UK market), and Russets or Yukon Gold potatoes (available in the US).
- Swap fresh carrots for sliced canned carrots or frozen carrot slices. Use parsnip if you can't get hold of any carrots at all.
- Use fresh or frozen broccoli instead of pea.
- Butter, milk and cheese may be replaced by dairy-free alternatives if preferred.
- Feel free to use mix of pork and beef mince, for the sauce if you need to.
What to be careful about when making this recipe?
The mashed potato should be moist enough, so that it can be spread more easily on top of the meaty sauce.
Make sure to add enough milk, but not too much as you don't want it too runny either. Each type of potato contains different volume of water, therefore adjust the amount of added milk as you go.
Also, be careful when adding salt - always taste the sauce first, as it may be salty enough from the stock used.
How to store cottage pie?
Cooked and cooled (room temperature) cottage pie can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Remember to cover it with a lid, beeswax wrapper or kitchen foil.
This pie can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer, which makes it perfect for batch cooking.
Divide it into portions before freezing and freeze each of them individually, or freeze the whole pie. It will keep fresh for up to two months.
Always defrost meals in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the oven (200C/180C fan for 30mins) or in a microwave. Check food is piping hot before serving.
Simple Pork Mince Cottage Pie
- 1 kg potatoes peeled, washed and diced (2.5-3cm)
- 500 g minced pork 20% fat
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 onions peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 3 large carrots peeled and diced
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes with juice or 6 salad tomatoes
- 170 ml pork stock hot
- 150 g frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce plus some for serving
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 125 ml warm semi-skimmed milk
- salt to taste
For serving (optional)
- grated cheese Grana Padano, Parmesan or Cheddar
- Prepare all your vegetables.
- Place the potatoes into a pot with water, add a pinch of salt, cover with a lid and bring to boil on high heat. When the water starts bubbling, lower the heat to medium-high and remove the lid. Cook the potatoes until soft (timing depends on how big the potato dices are, usually about 10-15 mins, overcooked are easier to mash), drain and keep in the pot (covered).
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking: Add the minced pork into a large frying pan (or non-stick saucepan) ans set on high heat. Stir and cook until brown, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Season with thyme and rosemary (if using fresh herbs: save ¼ for later).
- Add the chopped onions and garlic and toss well. Cook for a few minutes until the onions get soft.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
- Add the carrots, chopped tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Cook for about 5 mins and then add the stock. Cook for another 10 mins until the carrots are soft, stirring occasionally.
- Add frozen peas and Worcester sauce, cook for 2 more minutes. Take off the ehat and set aside.
- Add the butter and the warmed milk to the pot with drained potatoes, and mash it all up with a potato masher. Toss well and keep mashing until you get a completely smooth texture. Stir in grated cheese if using.
- Prepare a deep oven-proof or casserole dish (or a deep roasting tin) and place the meaty sauce on the bottom, spreading it evenly.
- Start adding the mashed potatoes on top. Carefully cover the ragu with spoonfuls of the mash. Make sure the meat and veg mixture is all covered, sprinkle over with leaves from 1 sprig of thyme.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven for 30-40 mins or until the top turns golden and crispy.
- Serve with some seasonal greens and enjoy!
Nutritional Information (Estimate Only)
This recipe was first published on this blog on Mar 30, 2020, and has been republished on Feb 23, 2022, for a better user experience.