Nan’s Cottage Pie

Location: Birmingham
Era: 1980 onwards

“My favourite meal when I was growing up was probably the cottage pie that my Nan used to make, I would go there a lot after school and at weekends. She’d make it using beef mince, carrots, peas and onion and then creamy mashed potato on the top covered in lots of cheese. I still get nostalgic when she makes it now.”
Charlotte Mincher


  • Butter
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 onions; 3 carrots; 3 celery; 2 garlic cloves: (all finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.5 pints beef stock
    Worcestershire sauce
  • Dried Thyme
  • Potatoes
  • Milk
  • Strong cheddar

Melt your butter in a pan and add in the vegetables, cook to soften.

Now add your beef mince and cook through.

Add your flour and tomato puree to the pan and mix through well – this will thicken the mixture.

Add your thyme.

Pour in your stock and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

Bring to the boil and then simmer until the liquid has reduced and thickened.

Boil your potatoes, mash, stir through plenty of butter and a dash of milk. Season.

Place your meat mixture on the bottom of a deep sided oven dish.

Top with your mashed potato mixture. Use a fork to create shape to the topping.

Smother in grated cheese.

Pop in an oven at 180 for about 45 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden and bubbling.

“When we used to go to my Mother’s to dinner it was things like fish and parsley sauce and sausages. Of course we always had shepherd’s pie and cottage pie. It was all cottage pie really. It was just minced meat and we never used to differentiate. My Mother used to make a wonderful big one that would serve everybody. When I went to Mother’s once a week for lunch and took the children, Grandad used to come back from work and have his lunch as well. So that was nice. We would all go home on the bus as we didn’t have a car. In fact we didn’t have a car until Grandad was past 60. When he got his retirement payout we had our first ever new car, a Ford Festival, a lovely blue car.”  
Joan Tromans