Cottage Pie

Wow has this week flown by. I’m trying to fit a 5 day work week into 4 days and that has been a challenge. I am taking Friday off to head to San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Conference this weekend. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because I love the city and being surrounded by bloggers that share the same “foodie” love and interests is pretty cool. Nervous because I won’t know anyone. Luckily the agenda is pretty packed – so I take this as my own personal challenge to come home with new blogs to read and new foods to try and a full belly.

In the meantime, it’s back to my kitchen and trying new recipes. The cover of the November Everyday Food Magazine had a photo of a different kind of Shepherd’s Pie. I’ve ordered Shepherd’s pie at pubs before, but never tried to make my own. I quickly thumbed to page 109 and was greeted with a recipe for “Cottage Pie” – the description said that a traditional cottage pie was made with ground beef and topped with mashed potatoes – this recipe called for sliced potatoes. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb – for a twist, they suggested using ground turkey.

I stuck with what I had – ground sirloin.

The Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter – melted
1 Large Yellow Onion – diced medium
2 Large Carrots – cut into 3/4 inch pieces – I peeled mine
Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Pound Ground Beef or Lamb – I used ground sirloin
2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves – I doubled that due to what I learned at my Herbal Kitchen class
1 Cup Dark (Porter) Beer
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Large Russet Potato – 3/4 lb. thinly sliced – mine was on the giant side, had a lot left over

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Next step – stir in the tomato paste. Add the meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until almost cooked through – about 3-5 minutes. Add thyme…

Then add the porter beer…

Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced – 2-4 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 cup water and cook until mixture thickens, about 2-4 minutes.

Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.

Arrange potatoes in a circular pattern on top of the meat mixture. Season potatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter. Note: I will not use that much butter next time – a tablespoon at most.

Place casserole dish into the oven and bake until potatoes are browned around the edges and tender when pierced with a knife. 40-45 minutes – Mine took closer to 55 minutes.

I did end up using a turkey baster during the cooking process to skim off some of the butter/fat – like I said above…next time I won’t use the full 2 tablespoons on top of the potatoes.

Comfort food for sure. I’m excited that I have 5 more bottles of Porter – can’t wait to make this dish again. It was a huge hit with Dan and I got 4 additional lunches for my mid week meals.

Maybe it was growing up in the 1970’s – not sure what…but man do I love casseroles in the Fall and Winter months.

What’s your favorite casserole dish?

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    • Amy on November 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

    This meal is something I would make for the boys…. nice and hearty. Looks delicious! I make a lot of casseroles since it’s so family friendly with left overs for the boys. One of my favorites is Chicken Broccoli casserole. It’s not made with rice like a lot of the chicken broccoli casseroles. I will send you the recipe. My boys love it and they aren’t even a fan of broccoli, lol

    • Marnie on November 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Hey! I dogeared that page, too. Glad to see you liked it! I totally love casseroles in the winter, too.

    • Kristen on November 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    As per your recommendation, I made this on Sunday. It was super YUMMY and very much comfort food. As you know, I’m not a pea fan, but the sauce flavor was so good that I didn’t pick any of them out. I also added a carton of sliced baby bella mushrooms, since I’m a mushroom fanatic! Next time I’d probably add 2 cartons of them, because they went perfectly with the sauce. Have fun in SF!!!! I can’t wait to hear all about your sinfully delicious adventures! 🙂

    • rebecca on November 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    awe…how exciting!! the foodbuzz festival…you’ll be coming home with some major swag…

    i’m definitely thinking of attending this next year..

    • Hilly on November 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Although it looks similar, I think the Cottage Pie might just be tastier than Shepherd’s Pie for sure!

  1. Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

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