Yesterday, my son begged me to make him Cottage Pie. I love Cottage Pie; it is the ultimate Irish comfort food and one of my favourites. In the United States, it is always called Shepherd’s Pie, but Shepherd’s Pie is cooked with ground lamb and Cottage pie is cooked with ground beef. This recipe takes some time, but it is so worth it, and as a bonus for your hard work, you can finish the rest of the bottle of wine while you wait.
Classic Beef Cottage Pie
- 2 ½ pounds ground beef (minced beef)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onion - diced
- 3 medium carrots - chopped
- 3 pieces celery stalks
- 3 cloves garlic - chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (plain flour Australia and UK)
- 1 glass red wine
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups beef stock (beef broth or beef bouillon)
- 2 small bay leaf (bay leaves)
- 2 sprinkles dried thyme
- 1 sprinkle salt
- 1 sprinkle ground black pepper
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick Butter
- 1 cup cheddar cheese - grated
- Add butter and milk to your liking until the desired consistency is reached. Then mix in strong cheddar, I add a lot, but everyone is different.
- You can also add a few gratings of fresh nutmeg if you like; some people prefer without. I think the nutmeg adds to this dish. You can always test a small amount with the nutmeg to see if you like it.
- Brown ground meat in a pan with some olive oil and then remove from pan.
- Add more olive oil along with onions, celery and carrots, cook on low heat until soft, about 20 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic and flour and cook for a few minutes. Return the beef to the pan.
- Pour in the wine and let it boil for a few minutes. Now add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme.
- Let this simmer and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes. The gravy should become thick if there is still a lot of liquid increased heat, so the liquid boils down. This should not be dry, but the gravy should coat the meat.
- Once done, season the meat to your liking with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime, while all is cooking, you can make the mashed potatoes.
- Once everything is ready, spoon the meat into 1 or 2 dishes depending on their size.
- Spread the mash on top to cover the meat mixture. Sprinkle some remaining cheddar over the top and put into the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the topping becomes golden.