Cottage Pie with Mashed Yams

This post was generously contributed by Emily of Minneapolis Real Food Lover – one of my favorite blogs focusing on real food.  Over the coming week Nourished Kitchen will feature more guest posts by some of the best, but most undersung voices in the real food community. What will I be doing?  Why sipping fresh coconut water and lime juice from the beaches of Mexico.  If you’re interested in guest blogging at Nourished Kitchen at a later date, why don’t you drop me a line? – Jenny


cottage pie with mashed yams

By Jenny Published: January 8, 2010

    I love cottage pie for supper, on a cold winter’s night, it’s a delicious comfort food. This recipe is simple, nourishing, and can be prepared using one cast-iron pan, what’s more to love? One of my health-related goals for this year is to eliminate gluten and grains from my diet, while eating more nutrient-dense food. This dish fits my criteria for a healthy meal filled with vitamins and goods fats found in grass-fed animal foods such as fat-soluble nutrients; locally raised ground beef, real butter, rich local Cedar Summit Farms cream, and no grains or gluten. As a mother, kid appeal of foods is also a key factor in meal planning and this one gets a thumbs up from folks of all ages at our house.


    • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
    • 1 cup homemade beef stock or store bought organic beef broth
    • 1/4 cup cream from grass-fed cows
    • 3/4 stick good-quality butter (the higher fat content the better)
    • 1 large onion (chopped)
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1 cup diced carrots
    • 2 medium sized yams or sweet potatoes
    • 3/4 cup shredded grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 2 tbsp organic tomato paste (I like Bionaturae as it comes in glass jars)
    • 1 tsp organic Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s)
    • real sea salt and crushed black pepper (to taste)


    1. Bake yams in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until soft when pricked with a fork. Peel yams, discarding the peel and mash them with 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 cup cream and a dash of salt in an electric mixer. When the yams are nicely mashed set aside.
    2. In a large cast-iron pan saute onions and carrots in 1/4 stick butter on medium heat, stirring until onions are translucent and carrots are slightly browned. Add in ground beef, breaking up meat into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir occasionally until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
    3. Pour in beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme, stirring to incorporate and turn heat to low. Allow the liquid to reduce a bit, about 15 minutes or so. Add in the peas, and sprinkle the arrowroot on top. Briskly stir to prevent the arrowroot from clumping, then continue stirring gently until the sauce has thickened, less then 5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat, turn oven to 375 degrees.
    4. Spread mashed yams evenly on top of the meat and veggie mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the yams. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

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    What people are saying

    1. says

      This looks delicious! I wonder if I can use water or milk in place of the beef broth. I can’t make or find any good quality beef broth on a regular basis. I buy Laura’s Lean Beef for ground beef. Oh, and no Worcestershire either.

    2. says

      Kelli- I wouldn’t use water or milk, part of what makes this dish so richly flavored is that ‘secret’ ingredient-broth. Any other type broth should be ok too, ie. veggie broth, chicken stock, ect. (not fish stock though). In place of worcesteshire try a bit of wheat-free tamari (nama shoyu is a good one) and a splash of red wine, according to a commentor on my site.

    3. says

      I will definitely try this recipe. I’m actually from Alexandria, MN but am spending this month in Washington. It’s a little rainy here but much warmer than 4 degrees! Brrrr.

    4. Lindsay says

      Just made this for dinner tonight and it was sooooo yummy! I used my amazingly delicious Anderson Farm ground beef, My 2 yr old approved as well. We live in Minnesota too, and it was perfect for this windy snowy evening! I linked to the post from my facebook so others can enjoy the goodness.

    5. Shannon says

      I don’t see where to add in the tomato paste. Is it with the beef broth so it reduces with that, or after with the carrots?


    6. Darcy says

      This was so delicious! We loved everything about the Cottage Pie and even though we cooked it in August (last night), we will definitely add it to our winter recipe collection. My boyfriend is diabetic so we enjoy sweet potatoes regularly and this gave us yet another option without the usual cinnamon/nutmeg combination. What a great idea to add the cheese on top, I never would have thought of it. The skillet came out looking just like the picture! I even took a picture of mine to send to my sister. Thanks for a real winner Emily.

      p.s. I was confused on when to add the paste too but I took a chance on adding it with the broth.

    7. Diana says

      Hi there-
      Just found your site via a friend and am excited to try some of these recipes!! Do you think that coconut oil could be subbed for the butter?? In equal portions??

      Thanks so much!!!


    8. says

      Just made this and so delicious! I thought the rosemary was a bit overpowering, so I would 1/2 that next time, but other than that…DELISH! Thank you!

    9. Lindsay Johsnon says

      I see tomato paste in the ingredients, but on the cooking instructions I don’t see it. I’m cooking this right now. Help!!!!1

    10. says

      This is a really good recipe. I made this for supper but used white potatoes instead of yams as family members do not like yams that much. I also did not add peas or carrots as kids like to eat these veggies separately – I added a few sliced white mushrooms though instead! One thing though – the recipe does not state where the tomato paste comes in, but I added it with the beef broth. Thank you for sharing such a good recipe, it is VERY simple and I will be making it all the time now, and I am glad it uses arrowroot flour instead of white flour.

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