Sometimes you make a dish so simple and unpromising, you’re wondering why you even attempted it.
Then you taste it and you hate yourself for ever doubting its capabilities.
This Cottage pie is one of those dishes.
A few basic ingredients: ground beef mixed with vegetables, topped with sliced potatoes. Simple.
Then you put it in the oven for about 40 minutes, and what comes out of it is a dish that just sings. A perfect balance of flavours, tasty, everything is perfect.
Just like a good song. A song that hits your nerve and you’re like ‘Oh my god, I love this song’.
You know, one of those songs you keep playing on your iPod, over and over, and never get tired of it.
Like ‘Step’ by Vampire Weekend. One of the best songs ever imo.
When you wrap together some of the most clever lyrics ever written (“Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth, age is an honor - it's still not the truth”) with a great tune, you’ve got yourself a perfect song.
And just like a perfect song, this Cottage pie is a perfect blend and balance of flavors.
A Cottage pie is basically a Shepherd pie, with one big difference. Shepherds pie is made with fresh ground lamb, (lamb -> shepherd), or minced leftover lamb from Sunday roast (which begs the question: who has leftover of lamb?) If you use ground beef instead, the dish is called Cottage pie.
I must come clean though, I didn’t know the difference between Shepherd pie and Cottage pie, I had to look it on the internet (thanks Wiki!)
A traditional Cottage pie is topped with mashed potatoes. I used potato slices instead, because it saves a lot of time and looks really awesome.
Basically what you have here is tasty mixture of vegetables and beef topped with "potato chips".
I’m sure you’re going to love this Cottage pie; it’s a classic one-dish meal, easy to make and deeply comforting. Trust.
Note. Real cottage pie is made with dark (porter) beer, not beef stock. However, I’m not a big fan of the bitter aftertaste, so I prefer to use stock. Feel free to use beer for a more authentic flavor though.
1 lb / 453 gr organic ground beef
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 cup / 250 ml beef stock
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder*
¾ cup / 4 oz / 115 gr frozen peas
1 large potato, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
*arrowroot powder acts like cornstarch (you can use cornstarch if that’s what you have in your pantry.)
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, and saute’ - stirring every so often - until onion is soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and stir in tomato paste.
Add ground beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes.
Add thyme and beef stock and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to reduce, about 3 minutes.
In a bowl mix arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) with ½ cup of cold water. Add to beef mixture and cook until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
Stir in peas and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Top with potatoes, overlapping slices.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and drizzle over the potatoes.
Bake until the potatoes are browned around the edges, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
One serving yields 235 calories, 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of protein.