This is the first recipe from an Englishman’s point of view, using American ingredients and measurements to get a taste for the classic British dishes I enjoyed before I came here. There’ll definitely be a few distinctly non-British dishes too but I’ll put my twist on them and try to give y’all something that you’ll love to eat.
There was a list I read a while back in the Daily Mail, a British publication; the top 40 favorite foods for the British. Fish and chips won, obviously… but Shepherd’s / Cottage Pie came 9th. It is truly a British classic!
Cottage Pie | Shepherd's Pie
This recipe is a Cottage Pie rather than a Shepherd's Pie purely because I used ground beef and not ground lamb. Apart from the different meats that are used, there is absolutely no difference in the two recipes so pick your favorite meat and cook away!
Assemble your ingredients...
Preheat a large skillet on the stove to a medium high heat. No oil needed as the meat has more than enough fat for our purposes. Add the meat, break it up as much as you can and season with salt and pepper. The principle I stand by is "no color, no flavor"; what you want to do here is brown the meat quickly rather than let it boil into a grey mess. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking. Fry for around 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the grated carrot, onion and garlic and mix it up well. Cook for another 5 minutes or so again stirring it. Add the rosemary and thyme.
Time to add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and red wine. Stir it in well and then let cook for around 10 minutes until the wine has evaporated. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (start the potatoes now), stirring occasionally until the filling has a thick consistency but still retains a little juice. Pour into an ovenproof casserole dish or high sided baking dish and use a spoon to level off evenly throughout the pan. Set aside.
Peel 5 medium potatoes and chop into similar sized pieces around 2'. This helps them cook evenly.
Half fill a large pan with cold water and add half a teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes and bring the water up to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for around 15 minutes to get the potatoes very soft and ready for mashing. Drain with a colander and then return to the pan.
Mash thoroughly to leave a smooth consistency with no lumps. Whipping with an electric mixer will give the wrong texture so avoid if you can. Add the butter in several small knobs, add the milk and add the egg yolk. Mix well. Season well with salt and pepper and add 3/4 cup of cheese, reserving 1/4 cup for topping the pie later.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spoon the mashed potato over the the filling in the casserole dish as evenly as you can, making sure to cover the whole surface. If the spoon starts to stick then rinse it off in some hot water and carry on. Once covered, add a little more salt and pepper and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese. Use a fork to rake the surface of the potato in order to raise a few peaks that will brown nicely in the oven.
Put the dish in the oven for 20 minutes until the top has browned and then serve! It can be served alone, with a salad, my favorite that is baked beans (I know!) or even inside a yorkshire pudding. It also freezes well.
Let me know what you think, and if you try it out please send me a photo!