Margarita's International Recipes


Cottage Pie

Pastel de carne, "meat cake", was one of my favorite dishes growing up in Argentina. I don't know how the recipe got into my Italo-Argentinian family, but it's surprisingly similar to that of cottage pie. For my English version, however, I went the traditional route. I can't say it was as good as my own, but it was definitely a comforting dish. The recipe calls for "mixed dried herbs", I used herbes de provence, as that's what I had at home, but you can use any mix that you have at hand (or make your own).

By the way, the main difference between cottage pie and shepherd's pie is that the former uses beef and the latter lamb.

Cottage Pie


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. dried mixed herbs
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 375F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots and garlic, bring the heat down to medium, and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and then simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the mashed potatoes. Cook the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain, put in a bowl and mash. Add the mustard, melted butter and milk and mix well. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Put the meat mixture into an oven-safe deep dish. Cover with mash potatoes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, if using. Bake for 30 minutes.

Adapted from Diana's recipe at

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