Leaky Cauldron Mini Cottage Pie

A few weeks ago, we took a family vacation to Disney World…with a 2-day detour to Universal Studios and Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

There is so much to do and see!  Though both Universal parks are huge, we spent almost all of our time in Wizarding World, living every minute!  The entire family got wands, I almost bough robes (but they were too pricey), and we got a little taste of London when we stopped by The Leaky Cauldron for lunch!

In all of Wizarding World, there is amazing attention to detail.  The employees are in character and dressed just like you’d expect wizards to be!  In fact, when we were ordering at the Leaky Cauldron, Dude asked for a Coke, without missing a single beat, the waitress (wait-witch?) says, “That’s a muggle drink, we don’t serve those here,” and just waited!  I almost died laughing!  (He ordered an apple juice, the rest of us had already ordered butterbeer).

The entire menu looked delicious, but ultimately, I went for the Cottage Pie (yum!)

When I got home and realized that this month’s Eat the World Recipe Challenge would be England, I was over the moon and knew that I wanted to recreate my Leaky Cauldron meal!

At home, I usually call this dish (meat & veggies with potato topping) shepherd’s pie.  So what’s the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?  Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb while cottage pie uses beef.   So…cottage pie it is (I’ve literally never used lamb, I don’t even know if I can get it in town!)

Anyway, Hubs and I loved the Cottage Pie (I liked it a bit better than the Leaky Cauldron version).  The kids were super skeptical about the potatoes on top, then Dude nibbled a hole in his and ate the filling beneath, while Spud ate the potatoes, then barely touched the filling (mostly because of the vegetables) – go figure!

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.  

Leaky Cauldron Mini Cottage Pie

Potato topping
2 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter
¼ - ½ cup lowfat milk
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Pie Filling
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup beef broth
1 cup peas

Fill a large pot with salted water.  Add potatoes and boil until tender (15-20 minutes).  Drain and place into a bowl.  Mash with butter, milk (enough to make smooth potatoes), parmesan, and salt.  Set aside to cool slightly.

While the potatoes boil, place the beef, onions, carrots, and celery in a large skillet over medium heat.  Break up the beef and cook for 5-10 minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are tender.  If there is excessive grease, drain it off.

Stir in the garlic, paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, tomato paste, wine, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for a couple minutes to reduce the liquid.

Stir in the flour and cook for a minute.  Slowly add the beef broth.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the broth to thicken.  Stir in the peas.

Spoon the filling into 8 individual pie plates or ramekins.  Load the potatoes into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used an Ateco 847) and pipe the potatoes over the filling in each mini pie (alternately, spoon the potatoes over the pies and spread with the back of a spoon).

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and potatoes are browned. 

Check out all the wonderful English dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! Camilla: Britain's Favorite Game Bird: Roasted Pheasant Juli: Lancashire Hotpot with Lamb Lynda: Cottage Pie with Mashed Cauliflower Topping Loreto and Nicoletta: Toad in the Hole, a Taste of Great Britain Simply Inspired Meals: Wizarding World Beef and Guinness Stew Margaret: Easy Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas Wendy: Venison Shepherd’s Pie Amy: Leaky Cauldron Mini Cottage Pie Sue: English Crumpets


  1. Such a great trip you had!! And cottage pie, we've always called it wrong, shepherd's pie even though never used lamb ;-) . It looks so tasty and also pretty!

  2. Great minds Amy....I'm anxious to do the Universal Studios Wizarding world.

  3. I wondered about the title when I saw the preview. Now I get it. This looks delicious. I don't think I ever knew that distinction between shepherd's (lamb) and cottage (beef). Thanks for sharing that.

  4. What an appealing looking cottage pie! So pretty to look at, and I'm sure it's got fantastic flavour. You've got me curious to visit Wizarding World!