Beef, Lamb, Veal, Pork/ Main Dish/ Russian Monday

Russian Monday: “Kortofelnaya Zapekanka” – Beef & Potato Сasserole

Recipes using ground meat were very popular when I lived in Russia, probably because ground meat is the kind of ingredient that allows a lot of variety.  Potato casserole with ground meat is the dish used to be cooked by our moms and grandmas. I don’t know the origins of it, but I can say for sure that it is a traditional dish of Russian cuisine.

My recipe of potato casserole includes only two ingredients – potatoes and ground meat, everything else is optional. If you would like to make a tasty dinner for a large family and get it done quickly – my casserole is for you. Potato-meat casserole can also be cooked with a variety of vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli etc. Vegetables can be mixed and matched in any variations. Also, pretty much any type of ground meat goes – pork, beef or a mix. Before using ground meat for your casserole, fry it with caramelized onions or chopped garlic to give it some extra flavor.

For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.

“Kortofelnaya Zapekanka” – Beef & Potato Сasserole

"Kortofelnaya Zapekanka" - Beef & Potato Сasserole

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Serves: 6


  • 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill)
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese



To cook the potatoes: In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the potatoes, water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 minutes. Drain well.


Mash the cooked potatoes in the bowl using a potato masher. Add hot milk or half-and-half, egg, and butter, and beat with a wooden spoon or with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cook through, 15 minutes.


Spread the mashed potatoes evenly onto a shallow baking dish. Spoon the hot beef filling over mashed potatoes. Then you can either spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the filling or using a pastry bag make a potato look pretty. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place under the broiler. Broil the potato pie until the potatoes are tinged with brown, about 1 minute. Serve directly from the baking dish.

“Kortofelnaya Zapekanka” – Beef & Potato Сasserole

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  • Reply
    Rosa's Yummy Yums
    February 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    This Russian version of Shepherd's Pie is fantastic. A delicious and comforting winter casserole.



  • Reply
    February 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    You are absolutely right, Rosa, it's similar to Shepherd's Pie. I think the difference in Russian casserole is there are two layers of potato and meat goes between. But the taste is pretty much the same-)))

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    February 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    It is a version of our cottage pie/ shepherd the rosettes.
    Make a meal even more special I find.

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    February 17, 2015 at 8:31 am

    It looks better than Shepherd's pie! Love that beautifully piped potato topping.

  • Reply
    sky_ dream
    February 17, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Выглядит эффектно!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Great dish! Definitely one of the best minced meat dishes 🙂

  • Reply
    February 18, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Yelena, This dish looks amazing I love how you piped the potato on the top. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your photography and can't wait to try some of your recipes.Until next time I visit wishing you a great week!
    Theresa @DearCreatives

  • Reply
    Regina Melo-Jocknevich
    February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Delicious & simple recipe. Like in Russia, in Brazil we use ground beef in many recipes as well.

    They way you spread the mashed potato it's so beautiful Yelena, I don't think I could make it this pretty 🙁

    Have a great week

  • Reply
    Nippon Nin
    February 24, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Very nice! Finer version of shepherd's pie? Still homey and approachable1 The perfect winter meal. Great photographs!

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