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Pale Ale Cottage Pie

95 minsServes 6Ingredients:2 tbsp olive oil750g beef mince200g streaky bacon, sliced into thin strips5 cloves garlic, minced1 onion, finely diced2 carrot, finely diced3 pieces of celery, finely diced1 cup pale ale2 tbsp tomato paste500ml passata1 cup beef bone broth or stock1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped2/3 cup grated cheddar or colby cheese2 tsp salt1 tsp cracked black pepper1.5 kg washed potatoes, peeled and sliced into quarters50g butter1 cup milk2 tsp salt1 tsp pepper
Rated 5/5 based on 1 customer reviews

Pale Ale Cottage Pie

with bacon and cheddar
Serves 6| Ready in 1 hrs 35 mins
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This is proper comfort food. Cottage pie with a hearty beef, bacon and pale ale gravy, cheesy melty cheddar throughout and a creamy, buttery mash crisped to golden brown to top it all off. Heaven.

Pale Ale Cottage Pie

This cottage pie recipe breaks all the rules that would traditionally call for a red wine in the gravy. My twist on a family favourite calls upon flavours from another classic flavour combination, beef and ale, but in cottage form.

A note on mash. I like mine really buttery and borderline too much salt, like movie popcorn level. You can adjust to your liking. They say to clothe your carbs in fat to reduce a glucose spike... Well, hyperbolically speaking, this is your permission to add all the butter to your mashed potatoes as you damn well please.

This dish is perfect for making in large batches and freezing. Leftovers taste even better the next day.

What you need to make Pale Ale Cottage Pie

A group of ingredients including beef mince, bacon, potatoes, butter, cheddar cheese, tomato paste, pale ale, carrot, celery, onion, beef stock, garlic, salt and pepper
Streaky bacon
To flavour the sauce
Beef mince
The classic meat for a cottage pie
Root vegetables
Onion, Carrot, Celery, Garlic
Pale ale
Gives a subtle ale flavour, if you want a stronger note opt for an IPA
Tomato paste and passata
For a rich tomato flavour
Beef stock
Or beef bone broth
Fresh rosemary
For a herby depth
For a delicious cheesy texture
Washed potatoes
For the mash
Butter & milk
For perfect mash flavour and texture
Salt cracked black pepper
To season

How to make Pale Ale Cottage Pie

Bacon and vegetables frying
1. Fry the bacon and vegetables

Heat a large pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat, fry the bacon for 3-4 minutes then add onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 5 minutes to soften. Remove from the pan.

Beef mince in frying pan
2. Brown the beef

Add the beef mince to the pan with another tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, fry until golden brown.

Cottage pie filling cooking in a pan
3. Make the pale ale sauce

Return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Add pale ale, tomato paste, stock, passata and herbs. Mix through to combine. Simmer for 15 minutes to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavours. Taste and season - don’t skip this!

Boil potatoes
4. Boil potatoes

Meanwhile, add potatoes to a pot with water, add ½ tsp of salt then boil until the potatoes are fully softened (about 15 minutes) - test with a fork to ensure they’re soft. Drain and let steam escape.

Pot of potatoes being mashed
5. Mash potatoes

Add butter, 1/2 of the milk, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the potatoes. Mash until light and fluffy, then give them a whisk. Add remaining milk and whisk again. Taste and season.

Assembling a cottage pie
6. Assemble pie and bake

Add beef mixture to a 32 x 24cm (12 x 9") baking dish. Grate ⅓ cup cheddar cheese over the beef mixture, then add mash potato, spooning over the beef creating little divots with the back of your spoon. Then grate ⅓ cup cheese over the mash. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until gloriously golden.

Watch how to make Pale Ale Cottage Pie

Frequently asked questions & tips for Pale Ale Cottage Pie

Can I make this cottage pie alcohol free?
Absolutely. Simply substitute with more beef stock to make alcohol free.
Can I make cottage pie lower carb?
Totally. I do this from time to time. In fact this is why I have left out any four from the gravy filling. Substitute the potatoes with cauliflower to make a cauliflower mash, or use the ‘low carb’ potatoes and opt for a 50/50 Cauliflower potato split. Just as tasty!
Will I ever be able to go back to the traditional cottage pie ingredients after making this?
Probs not.
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Pale Ale Cottage Pie

Cook Time
1 hrs 20 mins
Prep Time
15 mins
This is proper comfort food. Cottage pie with a hearty beef, bacon and pale ale gravy, cheesy melty cheddar throughout and a creamy, buttery mash crisped to golden brown to top it all off. Heaven.

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 750g beef mince
  • 200g streaky bacon, sliced into thin strips
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 pieces of celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup pale ale
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml passata
  • 1 cup beef bone broth or stock
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2/3 cup grated cheddar or colby cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

For the mash

  • 1.5 kg washed potatoes, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 50g butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Category - Beef
Cuisine - English
Skill Level - Not too tricky
Other categories -
Beef, Main Dishes, Weeknight meals, Dinner, Winter
Nutritional information
Calories 1370.6 kcal69%
Carbohydrates 92.5 g31%
Sodium 3189.7 mg139%
Magnesium 184.1 mg46%
Protein 59.3 g119%
Sugar 16.0 g18%
Calcium 369.0 mg37%
Vitamin A 131%
Fat 84.3 g130%
Fiber 12.8 g51%
Iron 9.9 mg55%
Vitamin C 115%

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