Sunday we decided to honor our British heritage by trying a couple of new recipes, or at least new variations on recipes we’ve had before. It was a great way to feel a bit closer to the ancestors I’ve been researching over the past few weeks. It also helped us make progress on our goals to try new skillet bread and shepherd’s pie recipes.

Remember I said I wasn’t sure if I’d like mashed sweet potatoes on my beef pie? Well, it’s not my favorite, but Wayne’s comment was, “It’s unusual, but it works.” So, there you go. This was a crockpot recipe, and the sweet potatoes were cooked on the stove, then mashed and plopped on top of the meat mixture. I think that step could be easily skipped in the future, just serve them along side the meat and vegetables. However, then it probably wouldn’t be a true cottage pie. You decide.

Note that these are scaled down to serve 2-4 people. If you’re feeding a larger family, double or triple it; it should still fit in your crockpot.

Crock Pot British Beef


  • 3/4 pound boneless chuck roast cut in 2 inch cubes
  • 2-4 carrots cut in 1 inch slices
  • 4 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed


  • Place meat in crockpot. Top with carrots, mushrooms and garlic.
  • Combine beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour over meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Mix together water and flour. Stir into meat mixture along with the peas. If desired, top with Sweet Potato Mash. Cook for 20-30 minutes on high, or until heated through and thickened.

For the record, the meat mixture was actually very good, and would probably be just as good with lamb as with beef. Also, Wayne was impressed with the giant sweet potato, and wanted me to share a picture of it with you. (Can of soup shown for comparison purposes.)

Sweet Potato Mash


  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Peel sweet potatoes (or just one if it's a giant one!) and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cook in boiling, salted water until tender, then drain.
  • Mash and add the remaining ingredients, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

To accompany it, I decided to serve a new bread from the Skillet Bread list, Raisin Soda Bread. That’s not the title it was given, so I didn’t realize I needed raisins in order to make that recipe. (That explains why although I started going in order, I had to skip #3; we’ll get back on track now.) I don’t have a lot of raisins in our pantry because we don’t particularly care for them. I did buy some, but then had the thought to use our mini skillets and reduce the recipe. It turned out that the raisins actually work very well in this bread! Oh, well. If we had to eat it for days on end though, maybe we would have changed our minds back.

Basically, add one egg, two tablespoons of sugar, and one cup of raisins to this recipe that we’ve had before. Or cut everything in fourths and make two small, individual-serving-sized loaves. (I beat the egg, put 1 tablespoon into the dough and the rest in a container to add to our scrambled eggs tomorrow. You could also probably just use an egg yolk or even omit it.)

before and after baking