Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tutorial/Recipe: Guinness Cottage Pie

Heeeeey! Ask anyone... I love Cottage Pie! When I make it I make two versions: Vegetarian and with minced beef (I don't eat animals, the mister does). I've looked up and researched this dish so much that I'm ready to share my methods with my pals!
(Note: When I bake I measure everything, when I cook... I eyeball everything. Measurements are approximate). Keep in mind, I cook for 2 (including myself.... to include leftovers).


  • 1/2 lb Minced or Ground beef or vegetarian substitute
  • 4-5 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • mushrooms (i like to use fresh, but whatever you have on hand...)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag mixed veggies (frozen or fresh equivalent) 
  • 1 or 2 fresh carrots
  • 1 packet of mushroom or onion gravy mix***
  • 1 bottle or can of Guinness
  • salt, pepper, favorite herbs/spices

These are some your ingredients (minus the beef) (I like to use veggie patties or polenta in my portion of the pie):

Start browning your beef and boiling your potatoes:

Chop onions and garlic, add to pan(s), start browning these babies:

Chop fresh carrots, add to pan(s) with mixed veggies, mushrooms and gravy mix***: (keep in mind I am splitting everything between 2 pans... herbivore and carnivore). Split accordingly... or add to one pan if you are only making the carnivore version  :)

Let all of this cook a little in the pan, but not long enough for the fresh carrots soften. Just enough so the onions and garlic are lightly browned and the frozen veggies aren't so frozen.

Next, add your can of tomatoes and let this mixture reduce so it's not so soupy. Also add any vegetarian protein substitute (chopped up veggie patties or polenta. It's ok if either of these are still frozen).

Guinness! Add your entire bottle or can to the mixture, if you're cooking 2 separate versions like me just split the can or bottle between them. Also this is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 F.

Let this mixture reduce a little while you move onto your potatoes, they should be ready. Drain them, cut them up and start smashing! Add milk, butter and whatever other ingredients you prefer to use in smashed potatoes. You can make instant potatoes... if you're into that sort of thing. :) Now then, I leave my smashed potatoes a little lumpy, but you can make them completely smooth if you'd like. (If you can get homemade smashed potatoes smooth then I applaud your prowess in the kitchen. I always have lumps!)

Once you are finished with the potatoes, your veggie/meat (or veggie....veggie) mixture on the stove should be ready. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Then start making a layer of mashed potatoes on top of the veggie mix. Once you've got it covered in potatoes (a good inch or 2 in depth), use a fork and "rake" little lines on the potato topping. (the one on the left is vegetarian, the one on the right has cow in it) Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the dish(es) in the oven until the potatoes are slightly golden (about 30 minutes).

Note on the beer: I've also made this recipe with Murphy's Irish stout with the same yummy results. I'm going to go ahead and say you don't have to use Guinness, any stout will do. No, you will not get drunk from eating this recipe. I do not have a recipe (other than drink recipes) that will do that.

If you have children and aren't comfortable feeding them a dish that was cooked with beer, substitute the beer for beef broth.

Did I miss anything? Oh, cheese. Apparently cheese is a big hang up/debate for some. Some recipes I've seen say "add cheese to your potatoes," while others say "don't even think about cheese, this is cottage pie!" If you like cheese, add it. If you want to use cheese, use it. These days nothing is wrong or authentic when it comes to food. Make it yours, or as Ezra Pound said (about art/poetry) "make it new." I like to think cooking is art. Have fun with it!

***Most packets of gravy mix, if not all, have some sort of meat powder in them. If you are looking for a 100% vegetarian recipe read the ingredients on the packet.


  1. This looks so delicious!! I'm totally making it! One of my favorite recipes is a beef paprika and beer stew. Thanks for sharing!


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