Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cottage Pie

I'm always willing to try a new twist on an old favorite, so I was excited to see the cover photo of the November issue of Everyday Food. I have yet to make a recipe from Everyday Food that I don't like, so I knew this twist on Shepherd's Pie would be excellent. And I wasn't disappointed.

The filling is super tasty, and the roasted potatoes on top add a lovely crispness that you obviously would never get with mashed potatoes. Plus, this recipe cuts way down on calories by eliminating all those heavy mashed potatoes!

And although I haven't tried it, the magazine said this recipe can be made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Just replace the meat by adding two cups of finely minced cooked turkey along with the peas. Yum! And speaking of holidays, this would be great for St. Patrick's Day. See my tip below on how to make it even more Irish.

Cottage Pie
Source: Adapted from the November 2010 issue of Everyday Food

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef or lamb
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dry thyme
2 cups MSPI-friendly beef broth, divided
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 large russet potato (about 3/4 pound), very thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in tomato paste.

Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, about three minutes. Add thyme and one cup beef broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about two minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add the remaining beef broth and cook until mixture thickens, about two minutes. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer mixture to a two-quart baking dish. Top with potatoes, overlapping slices. Season potatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil. Bake until potatoes are browned around edges and tender when pierced with a knife, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: Want to make this for St. Patty's Day? The original recipe uses one cup dark (porter) beer (or try using a stout like Guinness) and one cup water instead of the beef broth.