This may well be the best cottage pie recipe in the world! Picture a rich meat sauce with creamy mashed potato topping baked until golden and crisp… comfort food heaven. No one will ever guess this is actually a Slimming World cottage pie that’s practically syn-free. Let that be our little secret ;)
Prep Time55 mins
Cook Time35 mins
1 hr 30 mins
- Olive oil cooking spray or 2 tbsp olive oil for a non diet version
- 1 large onion or two small ones , finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 carrots , finely diced
- 2 celery stalks , finely diced
- 2 tbsp Sukrin or other sweetener or use brown sugar
- 1 tsp Italian herbs or dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 500 g | 1 lb beef mince , 5% fat
- 140 g | 5oz tomato purée
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 300 g | 10 ½ oz butternut squash , peeled and cubed
- 600 ml | 2 ½ cups stock made with two beef stock cubes
- 1 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch diluted in 1 tbsp cold water
- Salt and pepper to season if needed
For the mash topping
- 900 g floury potatoes , peeled and cubed
- 1 tsp salt
- 120 ml | ½ cup of the cooking water you might not need to use all
- 150 ml | 1 cup fat free Fromage Frais sub with sour cream for a non diet version
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
- 3 tbsp grated Parmesan Healthy Extra, optional
- Salt and pepper to season to taste
Spritz a large casserole dish with olive oil spray (or use olive oil).
Add the onions and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes until slightly softened.
Stir in the garlic, carrots, celery, salt, herbs, sweetener and bay leaves. Cook for a further 8 minutes. Add a splash of the stock if the pan gets too dry.
Add the mince, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until nicely browned.
Stir in the tomato purée.
Now add the balsamic vinegar, soy and Worcestershire sauces.
Stir in the butternut squash and beef stock.
Bring to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Add the cornflour slurry and simmer for a couple of minutes or until the gravy thickens. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste and season if needed. NOTE: If you are making ahead then cool and place in the fridge.
When the filling is halfway through cooking, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt and the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender - about 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes reserving 120ml (½ cup) of the starchy cooking water. You probably won't need to use all of it.
Mash the potatoes using a masher (or potato ricear) adding some of the cooking water to aid you.
Add the fromage frais and mash again until the mash is creamy, fluffy and smooth. Stir in the chopped parsley (optional). Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper.
Preheat the oven to 220C/400F. Transfer the filling into an ovenproof dish – I used the casserole dish I cooked the mince in – and pack it down. Spoon the mash over the meat and use the back of a spoon to fill in the gaps and create a scalloped pattern. Use a fork to seal the edges.
Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and cook for 30-35 minutes or until the mash is golden and the filling starts to bubble through at the edges.
Cool for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little parsley and serve with peas, green beans or other green vegetables.
Can I make it ahead?
Since this is quite a time consuming recipe it’s probably easier to make it a day ahead of when you plan to serve it. Follow the recipe up until the pie is assembled then cool, cover and place in the fridge.
The following day, cook the pie straight from the fridge in a 200C/400F preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the potato is golden and the filling it starting to bubble through at the edges.
Can I freeze cottage pie?
You can freeze the assembled pie before it is baked. Cool completely, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge then cook in a 200C/400F preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the potato is golden and meat filling starts to bubble through the topping at the edges.
Please note I am not affiliated in any way with Slimming World or Weight Watchers. Syn values and SmartPoints are based on online calculators.
Nutritional information is always approximate, and will depend on quality of ingredients and serving sizes.
Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 1463mg | Potassium: 1680mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 9234IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 9mg