Cottage pie is similar to shepherd’s pie, but more people have heard of shepherd’s pie than cottage pie. Do you know what they are? I had always heard of shepherd’s pie, but when I did, I imagined it was like a pot pie with a baked floury pie crust and a stewy interior. But nope – I was wrong.
Then again, you already knew that, didn’t you?
So a shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, topped with mashed potatoes, and cottage pie is made with beef. In French it’s called “hachis parmentier” (pronounced ah-shee par-mon-tyay).
I don’t make my cottage pie with vegetables like carrots and peas as it’s habitually prepared. I just know that my children won’t like it as well. This is how I make it.
Stir fry a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add a kilo of ground beef (just over 2 lbs) and fry it until cooked.
Then add a half teaspoon thyme, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of Worcester sauce. * * Worcester sauce is not gluten-free so don’t use it if you have problems with gluten.
And ketchup! Why not add a little sweet to life? I added 1/3 cup.
I put the whole mix in the Cuisinart so that there would be no pieces of onion or garlic, and so the ground beef would be really minced. It seems better to me this way – the flavors are more even, and the kids like it when there are no “pieces.”
I used 2.5 kilos of potatoes (between 5 and 6 pounds – can you believe I used that much?). I was serving this dish for a large crowd, but of course you can halve the recipe.
I prefer to use potatoes that have firm flesh rather than the ones meant for purée. I don’t like when it turns to glue. I also peeled and cooked the potatoes the day before to save me time the morning of.
But do you know the downside of trying to mash firm-flesh potatoes that have been refrigerated overnight?
This. (Potato bits flying everywhere).
But it was still worth it for the taste. Next time I’ll mash them warm, though, and save myself the hassle (and the broken mixer).
I mashed them with 1.5 cups of 2% milk and a half cup cream. I added a tablespoon of salt (I really did need that much for the amount of potatoes) and a half-teaspoon white pepper. And I also added a cup of shredded mozzarella because I had it. And it was really awesome when melted in with the warm potatoes.
Then I topped it with 2 cups of grated Swiss and a half cup Parmesan. And I sprinkled a teaspoon of nutmeg over the top. The French always use nutmeg on their warm cheese dishes and it tastes really great.
I took all of these pictures on a grey and rainy day, and with a portrait lens that was better for macros than for proper food photography. But you can kind of get an idea when it comes out of the oven.
And you can certainly get an idea when you see it here.
It was a big, big hit
on a cold and rainy autumn day.
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2lbs ground beef
- 1 t salt
- ½ t thyme
- 1 t Worcester sauce
- ⅓ c ketchup
- 5 lbs potatoes
- 1 T salt
- ½ t white pepper
- 1.5 c milk
- ½ c cream
- 1 c grated mozzarella
- 2 c grated Swiss
- ½ c Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Stir fry the onion and add the ground beef - cook thoroughly.
- Add the salt, thyme, Worcester sauce and ketchup.
- Blend the meat mixture in the Cuisinart.
- Peel and boil the potatoes.
- Mash them with a beater, using the milk/cream, and adding the salt and pepper.
- Mix in the mozzarella.
- Place the beef in a large pan - for this amount, use a pan that is larger than 9x13.
- Spoon the potato on top of the beef, and once all the potato mix is in place, smooth it out.
- Sprinkle the Swiss and Parmesan and nutmeg.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until brown and bubbly on top.