Monday, March 25, 2013

Cottage Pie

Such a simple dish – very much comfort food. Made with ground beef, it’s “cottage” pie; made with ground lamb, it’s “shepherd’s” pie. But you could use ground chicken or turkey too.It’s a hearty “pie” filling of ground meat, tasty gravy, and vegetables topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes. And a delicious low sodium version is super easy to make.

You can vary the vegetables according to what you prefer or what you have on hand. If you like a chunkier texture, don’t slice the vegetables too thinly.  I used 2 lbs. of potatoes just because I love mashed potatoes. But I’m sure 1 lb. would suffice. I reconstituted some instant non-fat dry milk for the potatoes and added a sprinkle of freeze dried chives. You can flavor the filling and potatoes with your favorite herbs and omit the cheese topping altogether. If you forgo using the cheese, you might consider dotting the potatoes with bits of butter or sprinkling the top lightly with a buttery herb flavored bread crumb mixture. I used Herb-Ox salt free beef bouillon granules mixed with a cup of water for the broth, and I made a tomato paste substitute by combining Harmony House Tomato Powder and water. All in all, cottage pie is a very adaptable dish.

Here’s the basic outline of what I made last night for dinner:

Cottage Pie
(Printable Recipe)

1-2 lbs baking potatoes, sliced
1/2 - 1 cup warm milk
Fresh/dried herbs (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. oil
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
3 medium carrots, sliced into coins (cut coins in half if large)
3 celery stalks, sliced
1-3 tsp. low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. thyme
2 tbsp. flour
1-2 Tbsp. salt free tomato paste
1 cup salt free beef broth
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Saute until vegetable are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring 1 minute. Add ground beef and thyme; cook, stirring until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and simmer about 2-3 minutes. Add frozen peas, stir, and turn off heat. Set beef filling aside.

Drain potatoes and return to pan. (Save the potato water to thin beef gravy if needed.) Cook over low heat, stirring, until all liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add warm milk and desired herbs. Mash until smooth; season with pepper.

Pour beef filling into an 8 x 8 inch greased baking pan. Drop dollops of potato over filling and spread to edges. If desired, use a fork to make decorative peaks. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum, gimme sum!