Friday, February 7, 2014

Cottage Pie

Or, if you prefer, shepherd's pie. But shepherd's pie is traditionally made with lamb or mutton (hence the shepherd). If it's beef, it's cottage pie. #themoreyouknow

I posted recently on a Facebook group I'm in, saying that I had a pound of beef defrosted in the fridge and asking what I should make with it. My default ground beef dish, honestly, is spaghetti with meat sauce, but as delicious as that is, I wasn't really feeling it.

The responses came back overwhelmingly in favor of shepherd's pie. By which I knew they meant cottage pie. But whatever.

What with one thing and another, I didn't get around to making it before the DDH came home, and I was going to give up and just make spaghetti anyway. However, the DDH vehemently vetoed that idea, so cottage pie it was.

Luckily, it's pretty easy, and only takes about an hour, start to finish.

Cottage Pie

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set approx. 3 pounds potatoes, chopped to boil. Once the water boils, let them boil for about twenty minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbs. butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat.

Add 1 onion, diced, 3 carrots, diced, and 3 cloves garlic, minced. Saute about five minutes or until the onions have softened and the carrots are beginning to get tender.

Add 1 pound ground beef. Cook another five minutes or until beef is browned.

Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. Worcestersire sauce, and 1/2 cup beef broth. Stir. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for about ten minutes. You can add up to additional 1/2 cup beef broth as necessary to keep the mixture moist.

(If you want to add additional vegetables like peas and corn, or if you're using a bag of frozen mixed veggies instead of the carrots, now would be the time to add them.)

By now the potatoes should be about done. Drain them, then mash them with 4 Tbs. butter and a sprinkling of salt to taste.

 Spread the beef mixture in the bottom of a 7x11 casserole dish (or any dish that holds about two quarts. If you use a 9x13, you'll have a much thinner casserole; if you want that size, I'd use more like 1.5 pounds beef and 4 pounds of potatoes. This recipe would probably more or less fit in a 9x9 square pan as well, but it would be thicker. Anyway. I know the 7x11 isn't the most common size, but I like it for meals for two adults/one toddler, and also because it fits in my toaster oven and I hate my real oven.)

Ok, so we spread the beef and veggies, right? Top with mashed potatoes. Spread them to cover up the beef mixture, but then rough up the surface so there are some good ridges. Those are the parts that will get all brown and crispy and delicious.

The DDH claims the whole thing should have been topped with cheese, and he liberally grated Colby-Jack all over his portions, but I like it as is.

Bake at 400 degrees for thirty minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Try not to eat three servings the way I did.

Definitely don't leave your dog unattended so that he jumps up on the counters and eats all the leftovers. -_-

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