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Mum’s Cottage Pie

My Mum has used this recipe since I was a young boy.


500g/1lb our lean minced beef
Potatoes suitable for mash for 4 people (e.g. King Edwards or Maris Piper), peeled and cut into large, similar-sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 tsp Bisto gravy powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil (e.g. Sunflower, Rapeseed or light Olive oil)
45g/1½oz butter
30ml/1 fl oz milk and a knob of butter for the mash
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Heat the vegetable oil and butter and in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden.

Step 2

While the onions are frying, bring a large pan of water to the boil, adding some salt once it gets hot. As soon as the water is boiling, add the potato pieces and boil until soft throughout.

Step 3

Once the onions have been fried, increase the heat, stir in the minced beef and fry for a further 15 minutes, turning throughout.

Step 4

Add approximately 200ml/7 fl oz of the potato water (from the saucepan of potatoes that are boiling), then add the Bisto gravy powder, which has been mixed into a paste with 30 ml of cold water, into the frying pan stirring frequently until it thickens.

Step 5

Put the meat into an ovenproof dish, mash the potatoes with butter and a little bit of milk and add the mash as a layer on top of the meat. Cook in the oven 180ºC/Fan 160ºC for about an hour until the potato is nicely browned on top.

Serve with vegetables and more gravy. Enjoy! 

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