Food with JP passion - Winter warming cottage pie

John Paul Kennedy is a self-taught cook from Tallaght whose passion for family cooking came from his two grandmothers. 

This recipe is a continuation of my winter warming dishes that are perfect comfort- ood suppers, best served in a large bowl.

Most of you would call this a shepherd’s pie however, as it is made using minced beef and not minced lamb it’s technically a cottage pie.

JP winter warmer LIZ 1

This is an updated version of my Nanny Rena’s famous shepherds pie that she made every Saturday along with two of her delicious apple tarts.

My cousin and I would often visit her to help make the apple tarts and our reward was a delicious shepherds pie to look forward to afterwards for Saturday lunch.

Every time I make this it evokes wonderful memories of happy times cooking and baking with my Nanny Rena in her kitchen in Firhouse.

It is her wonderful traditional family themed cooking that continues to inspire me today. I hope you too will enjoy making this good old fashioned family favourite recipe.

Ingredients - Serves 4- 6

1 pound of good quality minced beef

300ml of hot beef stock

2 diced carrots

1 onion finely chopped

1 stick of celery finely chopped

100g frozen peas

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme

1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary

2 tablespoons of beef gravy granules - to thicken if required

Sea salt & ground black pepper Tablespoon of rapeseed oil


1kg of potatoes

50g of butter

100ml warm milk

Sea salt and white pepper

jp winter warmer 2 720


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Heat up the oil on a medium heat in a large casserole dish and toss in the onion, carrots, celery, fresh thyme and rosemary and cook until softened.
  2. Add the minced beef and cook until browned evenly.
  3. Add the hot beef stock, dijon mustard , Worcestershire sauce and tomato puree and mix through to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and plonk a lid on and simmer for an hour or two if you have that to spare.
  5. Pop the frozen peas in at the end and mix in the gravy granules.
  6. Make the mash potato, mashing the potatoes well and add warmed milk, butter, salt and pepper and mix through well until velvety smooth.
  7. Put the minced beef filling into a baking dish and cover generously with the mash potato. I always use a fork to mark ridges on the top of the pie and then brush with some melted butter to get a nice crispy top with beautiful creamy soft mash underneath.
  8. Place on a tray to catch any overflow from the filling that might spill whilst baking and pop into your preheated oven for 45 minutes until the top is lovely and golden brown and you can see some of the delicious beefy filling spilling out over the sides! Comfort food heaven, I promise you. 

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