What's For Dinner: Cottage Pie

It must have been a recent trip to an Irish pub in Minneapolis that inspired me to make a cottage pie for dinner this week -- as it's not something that's particularly typical of my usual repertoire. Regardless, this cottage pie made for a hearty and deliciously savory dinner meal. I initially intended to make a traditional shepherd's pie, but, alas, couldn't get my hands on any ground lamb. So, with grass-fed beef easily accessible (and handily, already in my refrigerator), I made a cottage pie instead. Which for all intents and purposes, is basically the same thing, at least according to my perfunctory Google search. :) The only thing that would make this cottage pie better would be to pair it with a Guinness. But, alas, given my recent foray into the world of gluten-free eating, a glass of red wine will (and did!) have to do for me.

Cottage Pie (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

For the mashed potatoes:
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup organic half-and-half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the meat filling:
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 small or medium white onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (use all-purpose flour if you aren't gluten-sensitive)
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen shelled peas

1. Place the peeled and chopped potatoes into a large pot filled with cold water. Set the pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, remove the cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Stir in the half-and-half and butter and mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Add the ground beef to a medium-size skillet and cook over medium-high until browned through, about 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked beef from the skillet and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain off the excess fat. Carefully pour the excess grease out of the skillet then return the skillet to the heat. Add in the chopped onion and carrots, and saute until slightly softened and lightly golden, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.
4. Add the ground beef back into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce, and herbes de Provence. Then stir in the tapioca flour and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly.
5. Add in the corn and peas and stir to combine.
6. Spoon the meat mixture into an 9"x9" glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting by adding them around the edges to seal the meat mixture in. Use a fork to create a cross-hatch pattern in the potatoes if desired. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned. Let cool at least 5 minutes on a wire rack before serving. (It will be warm!)

(adapted from this Alton Brown recipe)


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