You’re probably asking yourself what the heck is a cottage pie?  Well, cottage pie is what most people know as shepherd’s pie.  However, technically speaking, when you make it with beef, you’re making cottage pie, as a shepherd’s pie is made with lamb.  Understandably, beef is more commonly used here because it’s cheaper and much more available than ground lamb, but it is no less delicious. 

Now, enough talk about technicalities, let’s get to the cooking.  Here’s the ingredients

Mashed potatoes:

  • Approx 1 Lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  •  1 and ½   Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pie filling

  • 1 ¼ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 tsp flour
  • ½ beef bouillon cube
  • A couple tbsp water
  • 2 tsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped finely
  • 3  cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 parsley leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste

First thing’s first, chop everything.  Get those potatoes peeled and in your pot of water.  Unlike with pasta, you don’t want the water boiling right away.  I don’t know about you, but when I drop potatoes into water, it splashes, and my cat-like reflexed have slowed with age.  And yes, those are Yukon gold potatoes.  They are the more of the Peter Wilcox variety which has a purple skin but yellow flesh, thanks to good old Revelry Farms.  Once you put the pot on high heat, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  

While the potatoes are going, get all your veggies, garlic, and herbs chopped that you’ll use in the pie filling.  This is one of those recipes that once one step is done, everything falls into place very quickly.  

As the potatoes are boiling, get a cast iron skillet on medium high heat.  Add some grapeseed oil.  Once the il is hot, add the onions, carrots and shallots and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are translucent and little browned, add the garlic.  Cook for 45 seconds to a minute.  Add the beef.  Season with salt and pepper, bur go easy on the salt.  You’ll see why in a few lines.

While the beef is browning, it’s time to mash those potatoes (granted hey are done).  Drain the potatoes and turn the burner down to low heat.  In the pot, add the butter and let it melt.  Re-add the potatoes, then the sour cream and milk.  Salt and pepper the potatoes then mash away.  Once mashed, add the chives.  Stir well to incorporate the chives.  

Once the beef has been browned, and the herbs and the half bouillon cube and cook for about a minute.  The reason I said go easy on the salt is that bouillon cube has a bit of salt, so you don’t want to over-season the beef.  There should be a fair amount of fat in the pan from both the oil and the beef.  This is good, because now you’re going to add the flour.  Stir the flour in thoroughly and cook for a couple of minutes, until the raw flour taste is cooked out.  Add the water and stir to incorporate thoroughly.  This recipe is good, and thorough.  Once that’s done, you can add the peas. Stir the peas in good.  Once they are in, turn off the heat.  Now spread the can of corn over the beef in a nice, even layer.  Remember those potatoes?  Time to top this bad boy off with them.  Use a rubber spatula to spread the potatoes evenly over the entire pie.  Make sure to go to the edge to form a bit of a seal so everything doesn’t boil over.  Here’s the thing, though.  I don’t like a huge, think layer of potatoes.  This isn’t going to be that.  It’s a good amount, but if you’re one of those who likes a lot of potatoes, you might want to make more.  

Throw the pie into the oven on the middle rack.  Place a foil-lined sheet pan on the lower rack to catch any drippings which may escape.    Let that cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown.  Once it is done, pull it out and put it on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.  This pie will give you 6 decent servings.  Enjoy!

Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of...