There’s a recipe for cottage pie in here, but I’m going to divert your attention to something completely different for the moment. Does anyone ever measure the 1 or 2 tablespoons that a recipe asks for? Oftentimes I find I need more oil than what is suggested, and really, why dirty an innocent tablespoon if you don’t need to.
The point is that you should pay attention to how much oil you need for what you’re cooking, not just what’s listed in the recipe. It can be due to the type of vegetables you’re using, the fat content in the meat, the climate – whatever.
If you’re somebody that’s counting your fat calories and wants to know EXACTLY how much oil is going in your food, then go for it. I do not care about that.
Instead, I just “splash” some oil in the pan, a few turns or whatever I need to get going. For the purpose of this post, consider “a few splashes” as whatever you want.
Now, onto the pie.
Cottage pie is the beef version of Shepherd’s Pie, which uses lamb. Everyone get’s them confused, it’s OK.
There is a ton of flavor in this pie, but fair warning, it took about an hour to make. BUT IT’S SOOOOOO WORTH IT. Trust me.
The beef is tender, full of juice from the frozen peas and the beef stock, and the fluffy mashed potatoes become an avenue for sopping up the beef mixture onto your fork.
Can’t I just use instant mashed potatoes?
Well… yes. You can do anything. But you’ll be surprised at what a difference the homemade mashed potatoes make. They make seem intimidating, but think of the possibilities – you can add less/more salt, pepper, your favorite spices, cheese or no cheese, BUTTER, milk, etc. Mashed potatoes are just a combination of hot potato + butter/cream + seasonings. Do with it as you want.
This cottage pie will stand up to leftovers if you have any. Rahul and I ate half of a Rachel Ray boat/casserole dish, but I also made two small ramekins and set them aside for pictures. Because ramekins are cute.
- 1 1/4 lb ground beef
- A few splashes of olive oil
- Half of a medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 cup peas
For the mashed potato heavenly layer:
- 2 lbs of potatoes (I used gold), diced
- 1/2 a stick of butter
- 2 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- A good pinch of dried parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare a large stock pot with water on high heat to boil.
In a large skillet, add a few splashes of olive oil and start browning the ground beef over medium-high heat.
While the beef browns and the water comes to a boil, dice the onion, carrot, celery, and potatoes.
When beef has browned, drain it and set aside. Add a few more splashes of olive oil and add the onions. Cook for about five minutes or until translucent.
Add the diced carrots and celery, and cook for 3 more minutes.
Add the diced potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.
Return the beef to the skillet and add the molasses, ketchup and apple cider vinegar. Stir to incorporate.
Add the salt, pepper and beef stock and stir.
Bring to a simmer, then add the peas. Let cook on low while you prepare the potatoes.
Preparing the potatoes:
NOTE: I used my KitchenAid Mixer because… I wanted to. You can use a hand mixer, a food processor or anything with a power motor that blends, so use what you want.
Put the half stick of butter at the bottom of the mixer bowl. Drain the potatoes and pour on top.
Attach the bowl to the mixer and, using the paddle attachment, stir for 45-60 seconds or until everything is incorporated and the potatoes are soft and fluffy.
Stir in salt, pepper and parsley. Grab a spatula.
Assemble the cottage pie:
Coat a medium to large casserole dish (I used a Rachel Ray boat-thing) with cooking spray or butter. Add the beef mixture, then top with the mashed potatoes. Use a spatula to put the potatoes around so you form an even layer over the beef. Cook in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are slightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy.