Tender braised short ribs smothered in a simple gravy with carrots and peas, and creamy mashed potatoes come together for the ultimate Cottage Pie. This hearty and delicious meal is perfect for St. Paddy’s Day, potluck dinners, or anytime you’re craving real-deal comfort food.

Overhead shot of cottage pie in red baking dish.


Each year for St. Patrick’s Day I make my classic Shepherd’s Pie.

This year I’m changing things up and making Cottage Pie with braised short ribs.

While shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, cottage pie is usually made with ground beef.

And while ground beef can be used, I’m using braised short ribs because the flavor and texture is just incredible.

This cottage pie is even better when paired with a pint of stout, homemade soda bread, and slice of chocolate Guinness cake with Baileys frosting for dessert.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: milk, butter, eggs, cheddar, tomato paste, flour, worcestershire sauce, herbs, potatoes, red wine, olive oil, celery, carrots, garlic, onion, peas, and boneless short ribs.
  • Beef. Boneless short ribs work well for this recipe, but you can also use a chuck roast (which will be less expensive), or even ground beef.
  • Red wine. A dry red wine can be used for the filling, or you can use Guinness or another stout.
  • Herbs. Use a combination of fresh rosemary and thyme. If you can’t find fresh herbs, you can use dried but keep in mind dried herbs are more potent so you won’t need as much (about one-third).
  • Potatoes. I’m using Russets because they’re on the drier side and will make fluffier potatoes.
  • Milk. You can also use heavy cream or half and half.
  • Egg yolks. To help bind the potato topping.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make cottage pie

First, braise the short ribs

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 300f and set the racks with enough space to accommodate a Dutch oven and with its cover. Heat a Dutch oven to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season 3 1/2 pounds of boneless short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides and sear them in the Dutch oven until browned on all sides, working in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Remove and place on a plate and set aside. (Photo #1)
Braising short ribs collage one showing searing in Dutch oven and deglazing pot.
  1. Add 5 cups of water to the pot and turn the heat up to high. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, then turn the heat off and return the boneless short ribs to the pot. (Photo #2)
  2. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven to braise until the ribs are fork-tender, about 2 1/2 hours. (Photo #3)
Recipe collage two showing covering of pot and placing beef on cutting board and pouring out liquid.
  1. Once the ribs are fork-tender, remove them from the pot and pour the remaining liquid into a large measuring cup and reserve at least 3 cups of the beef liquid for later in the recipe. (Photo #4)
  2. Separate the fat that rises to the top with a ladle and place in a separate bowl for later in the recipe. Note: if you braise the short ribs the day before assembling the cottage pie, this step will be easier since the fat will rise to the top and solidify once chilled in the fridge. (Photo #5)
Recipe collage three showing removing fat with ladle and shredded beef on cutting board.
  1. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, either shred with forks or chop into chunks to break it down removing any large pieces of fat. (Photo #6)

Make the mashed potatoes

Note: The mashed potatoes and filling steps are separated, but it is recommended to start both at the same time to speed up the process.

  1. Peel 3 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes and slice into chunks. Place the potatoes into a stock pot filled with salted water and bring to a boil.Once boiling, turn the heat to medium and partially cover with a lid and cook the potatoes until fork tender. (Photo #1)
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and either rice using a ricer, or use a masher to smash them in a large bowl. (Photo #2)
Mashed potatoes collage showing boiling of potatoes, ricing potatoes into bowl, seasoning the potatoes, and mixing eggs yolks into the potatoes.
  1. Melt 1 stick of unsalted butter and shred 2 cups of white cheddar. Add all the butter and 1/2 the cheddar to the potatoes along with 1 cup of milk. Test the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper to taste. (Photo #3)
  2. Once satisfied with the taste, add 2 large egg yolks and mix until combined. (Photo #4)

Make the filling and assemble

  1. Preheat the oven to 400f. Dice 1 large onion, 3 celery ribs, and 2 large carrots. Mince 5 garlic cloves, chop 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, and remove the 1 tablespoon worth of fresh thyme leaves from the stem. Heat a large pan to medium and add 4 tablespoons of the reserved beef fat from earlier. (Photo #1)
Cottage pie recipe collage group one showing adding beef fat to large pan and sauteing veggies in pan.
  1. Add the carrots, onions, and celery along with a pinch of salt and saute until the veggies are soft, about 10-12 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. (Photo #2)
  2. Add 3 ounces of tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Add 1 cup of dry red wine and turn the heat to high. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and dislodge any brown bits and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 3-4 minutes. (Photo #3)
Recipe collage two showing deglazing pan with red wine and adding flour to the pan.
  1. Turn the heat down to medium and add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Cook until there is no more white. (Photo #4)
  2. Add 3 cups of the reserved beef liquid along with the thyme and rosemary. Add 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas and 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and mix in all of the beef short ribs and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. (Photo #5)
Recipe collage three showing consistency of meat mixture and adding the filling to a large baking dish.
  1. Taste test the filling and season well with salt and pepper. Add any additional thyme or rosemary if you’d like. Add the filling to a 9×13″baking dish and use a spoon to smooth and form an even layer. (Photo #6)
  2. Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to layer the mashed potatoes on top of the filling and use a fork to fluff them into mounds or points, or pipe them on top using a pastry bag with a star tip as I’ve done below. (Photo #7)
Recipe collage four showing piping of potatoes and finished cottage pie after baking.
  1. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes and place in the center of the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Then, move the dish to the top rack and broil for 2-3 minutes or until well browned. Be sure to watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and allow the cottage pie to settle for 10-15 minutes before eating. Serve and enjoy! (Photo #8)

Top tips

  • Braise ahead of time. The day before you plan to serve the cottage pie, consider braising the short ribs. This will not only make the process easier on the day of, but will allow you to easily separate the fat from the beef liquid.
  • Taste test! Be sure to taste test the beef mixture and adjust salt, pepper, and herbs as needed. Be sure to also taste-test the mashed potatoes before adding the eggs.
  • Let it settle! As with any baked casserole, it’s helpful to allow the cottage pie to sit for 15 minutes or so prior to serving to allow the filling to settle.

Fork scooping a piece of cottage pie in white plate.

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Cottage Pie

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 9
Cottage Pie combines braised short ribs, carrots, onions, and peas in a delicious red wine gravy that's topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and baked until golden.

Ingredients 

Braised beef and liquid (can do this the day before)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups water

For the mashed potatoes and topping

  • 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 2 cups white cheddar shredded, divided
  • 1 cup milk plus more if too dry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks

For the filling

  • 3 pounds shredded short ribs from above
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves only
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped, leaves only
  • 3 cups reserved beef liquid from above
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

Braise the short ribs

  • Preheat oven to 300f and make enough room to fit a Dutch oven.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides and sear in the Dutch oven until browned on all sides. Work in batches until finished. Add 5 cups of water to the pot and turn the heat to high. Scrape all of the browned bits off the bottom of the pot then turn the heat off and return all the beef to the pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and braise in the oven until fork tender (about 2 1/2 hours).
  • Remove the beef from the pot and pour all of the liquid into a large measuring cup. Reserve 3 cups of the beef liquid for later. Separate the fat that rises to the top with a ladle and place it into a bowl for later.
  • Once the beef is cool enough to handle break it down by shredding or chopping it into chunks while removing any large pieces of fat.

For the mashed potatoes

  • Fill a stockpot with salted water (roughly 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per gallon). Add the chunks of potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium and partially cover with the lid. Cook the potatoes until fork tender, then drain in a colander.
  • Rice the potatoes (can also use a potato masher) in a large bowl. Combine with the milk, melted butter, and half the grated cheddar cheese. Taste the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper to taste. Once satisfied, mix the egg yolks into the potatoes.

Assembling the Cottage pie

  • Preheat oven to 400f.
  • Heat a large pan to medium with 4 tablespoons of the reserved fat from above. Add the carrots, onions, and celery along with a pinch of salt. Saute until the veggies are very soft (about 10-12 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, stir, and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add the dry red wine and turn the heat to high. With a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits. Cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Turn the heat down to medium and mix in the flour, cooking until all the white specks disappear. Add the reserved beef liquid, thyme, rosemary, peas, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and add mix in all of the beef. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  • Taste test the filling and season well with salt and pepper. Add more herbs if you like.
  • Add the filling to a 9×13" baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on the top (can also pipe with a pastry bag and star tip) and with a fork or spoon fluff the potatoes making mounds or points. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese all over the top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes in the center of the oven. Move the dish towards the top of the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes or until well browned but not burnt. Watch carefully! Let the cottage pie sit for 10-15 minutes before eating so that it can settle. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Chuck roast can be subbed for boneless short ribs.  The braising process can be done the day before.  Make sure to separate the beef and liquid before refrigerating.  Doing this will allow easy removal of the fat the next day.
  • Taste test the mashed potatoes before adding the egg yolks to ensure proper seasoning.  Be sure to also taste test the short rib filling and make any adjustments to the salt, pepper, or herbs as needed.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated.

Nutrition

Calories: 825kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 59.3g | Fat: 56.2g | Saturated Fat: 20.7g | Cholesterol: 469mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 1065mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 7.6g | Calcium: 248mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a big fan of Sip and Feast and this recipe did not disappoint. I especially liked the idea of piping the mashed potatoes on top of the casserole. I added a few things to make this my own, but it was wonderful, just as outlined. There’s really nothing quite like short ribs, and with a little effort, you can make something wonderful.

  2. 5 stars
    Love all the recipes, of course I ve seen most of them already on your channel but love having them handy.. thank you
    I like when the “taste tester” gives his totally unbiased opinion…one day I expect to see him making a dish. He is so knowledgeable..