In 1998 our family moved from Washington State to England. We lived there for about eighteen months. Shortly after we arrived a lovely British family we had met invited our family for dinner. It was the first home cooked meal we’d had since arriving. The menu was shepherd’s pie made with lamb, and bread and butter pudding for dessert. The meal was delicious and their hospitality was a blessing to us. I found as we traveled about England, Scotland, and Ireland they all had this on the menu but they called it Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie and made it with a beef or lamb mixture and topped with potatoes that were toasted under a broiler. I have always made mine with beef. I like to top mine with cheddar cheese and then put in back in the oven to get all melted. The ingredients are simple but very delicious. A comforting meal on a cold winter day. I call it special cottage pie and this is my version.
Special cottage pie
For the filling
2lb. ground beef
3 large shallots, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons tomato paste
4 small carrots sliced (boiled)
2 1/4 cups beef stock
For the topping
10 small Yukon gold potatoes
½ up ¾ cup whole milk
1/2 – 1 stick butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Brown the ground meat and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat. Set Add the meat aside add reserved fat back to the pan over medium heat add the shallot, garlic, and bay leaf cook for 1 minute. Add the meat back to the pan add the allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of flour, carrots, and the tomato paste. Stir mixture together and cook 2 minutes. Add the beef stock slowly while stir to get a nice juicy consistency. You don’t want it to be to soupy looking. Cook about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Fill a pie plate with the mixture or individual oven ware.
For the topping
Boil the potatoes, drain, mash potatoes using electric mixer. Add butter, sour cream, salt and pepper, and milk. Whip till light and fluffy add the chives at last mixing. When mixing mash potatoes always mix the potatoes till they look smooth before adding milk this will reduce any lumps. Unless in fact you like lumps then mix less before adding milk. Top the meat mixture with the potatoes, I use a pastry bag to do this but you can just heap them on top. Bake 15-20 minutes till top browns add cheese at the last few minutes.
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